Posts Tagged ‘family’

Reading: The Vagrants by Yiyun Li, The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts
Listening: all things Ben 
Gibbard

The scant flurries from this morning have morphed into a bona fide, diagonal snow that’s marbling the neighbors’ roofs with curling veins of white. I’m starting slow, crossed legs under a blanket, still sipping coffee gone cold long ago. The friends’ dog I’m here to watch sleeps curled in a tight spiral on his own blanket nearby. Plenty of windows in their new house let in a nice amount of natural light, even on this winter day when the sky is that kind of overcast that makes it appear almost white, as if our planet were surrounded by nothing but clear, still water, the way it looks in a full bathtub. I woke up this morning with the top of the dog’s head close to my own forehead, at that crackling distance where almost touching sometimes becomes its own tangible sensation.

I don’t wait for New Years to set my resolutions, and this year I’m letting the holiday pass without the inventory-taking I normally do on the events and accomplishments of the past year. That can provide insight, but at present I feel like being seated in the now, and so that’s what I’m doing. My thoughts float — to my friends, to the little glimpses into their lives I get when I watch their children or animals, to my parents and my love for my family, to how staying in someone else’s home on a holiday when they’re away gives me a feeling of transience and perspective, to the fact that I like this house, to a man out there who I find has gotten under my skin more than I expected — all this with a quiet-spirited warmth that demands nothing, not of them, not of me. I am grateful. Our existence is enough.

By this point in writing, the dog’s up and restless, pacing, fiddling with a rubber ball for a moment before looking for something else to do. I’ll take this as my cue.

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I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Today, happiness was a little homemade whipped cream and fresh berries on top of waffles while I sat at the table with a few friends I’ve known for years. (It was the first time I’ve made whipped cream myself, and it was well worth the brief effort — I usually just skip it; I don’t at all like the fake stuff.) Earlier this year, we started making an effort to have regular Sunday-night dinners like this, where each of us contributes a little something, and we cook and eat together. We rotate whose abode we visit each time. Besides being an inexpensive way to eat together, it feels right, to set things up like this; it’s communal, familial even. We invade each other’s kitchens and complete our tasks, grabbing our own glasses and drinks as if we all still shared our living space. (The fact that most of us do or have at some point lived together, in some combination or another, probably bears on this.)

It also feels familiar because it takes me back to the ritual of my family’s get-togethers when I was growing up, before my cousins moved and got married and had their own children, before I moved out of state for college and then stayed here. We would regularly congregate at my grandmother and grandfather’s house on weekends, with everyone bringing food to contribute to the massive pot luck we always had. After my grandma died some years after my grandpa did, we didn’t gather as regularly, and I know based on a poem I remember writing in high school that I felt the lack. How fortunate I was, though, to have had that experience of seeing family frequently when I was a kid, and I knew it. Now, these Sunday meals with friends seem to bring a kind of symmetry. To me, it doesn’t feel so much like starting a new tradition as reinstating an old one. So, tonight, I’m feeling especially grateful for my family — both my flesh and blood back home and the friends who’ve become like family over these years — and for simple things like homemade whipped cream and time with friends on a beautiful summer day.

 

Sometimes it’s helpful to remember the good things that are happening; this blog has been pretty much exclusively about the rough things lately, and so it’s time for a brief inventory. In the past week…

I graduated with my M.A. in English Literature, with a 4.0 GPA.

I even look pretty good in a couple of the pictures. *smirk*

My dad sent me flowers on graduation day. They’re on the table in front of me now.

I got to see my sister a lot. We shopped for makeup together, which made the task much more fun for me.

I had fried chicken and homemade noodles at the party my parents threw for my sister (who just got her B.A. in Music) and me.

I spent time with my family and got to see some of my cousins and their kids.

The Bioware store had a sale on some of its Mass Effect stuff.

My brother came to visit; we went to a local comic con, got dinner, hit a bookstore, and had a good time hanging out together for a few hours.

Even though I was tired and had a cold that day (still getting over it), I enjoyed dinner and dessert and watching What Not To Wear on Netflix with my mom and sis.

So, there are some bright spots and silver linings to remember from this gray season, too. I just wanna remember the good along with the bad. All mixed together—the way it happened.