Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Family Lottery

Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a crock. It doesn't make the heart grow fonder, it makes the heart go crazy. I will tell you one thing; if you are a little uncertain on the depths of your love for your family and friends, move across the country.
A two-hour, nor a four, not even a seven hour move will quite do. Or maybe that's because I have lived within eight hour radius's of my family before and still could manage to see them upwards of six times a year.
No, to be truly certain your absence will have a staggering affect on your heart, you most definitely need to put a few states between you and your loved ones. Make sure you sell your car also and use up what few pennies you have, so as to have utterly no option of seeing them when you are in dire need, but know you will have to wait until the next major holiday in which your parents will probably have to foot the bill for your plane ticket as a gift to you.
Were you to give me the most perfect cup of coffee made with the freshest grounds hand plucked from Brazil, whilst sitting on a porch swing at my camp(favorite place in all of creation by the by), with a live folk band serenading me via a sparkling sunset, that would probably measure only half of the sentiments toward my fam. My crazy, one-of-a-kind, boisterous clan.
While driving back from our little impromptu East Coast road trip last week, my sister Kirstie and I quizzed Bella and Nick on what they wanted to be when they grew up. Nick said a detective and I couldn't help beaming with pride. What a top notch career choice. And so smart. Bella informed us that right now she was really thinking acting. In our family? An actor? Lord it was only a matter of time!
So Kirst and I, both huge theater nerds, began coaching and telling her she better learn to cry on demand, and maybe we should practice a scene. Bell kept wanting to be a hillbilly grandfather, this was a surprise to no one as Bell has quite a few tomboy tendencies. Example: my mom demanded I braid her hair one morning and Bell huffed and puffed but let me do it, but when I put a bandana in as a fetching piece de resistance, she looked in the mirror and began to sob until my mom told her she could take it out.
She played the part of hillbilly grandfather rather well I might add, but we told her to be a truly well-rounded actress she would need to play lots of roles, so we decided to do some improv in the car. A little Whose Line Is It Anyway, with scenes and characters.
Everyone wanted to play, including my mom and dad. I don't know what I found more delightful about this: the fact that my baby sis was already contemplating a career in the arts, or the fact that my entire family was on board for supporting her in this endeavor. Probably both. Stupendous is the word I would use.
So it began.
I started us out at a circus, because that seemed appropriate. We went around the car, where everyone made a statement that the next person had to follow up on. Nick got into it, Bell was a natural, my dad an absolute hoot, but all in all, I was downright taken with each and every one of the family members I was with. My soft spoken brother doing a circus scene with us, Bell practicing her technique, Kirst and I thinking we were the aces because we've taken theater classes.
It's like this: nowhere in the world can you so truly be yourself and be loved, loved so unconditionally for being artsy or corny, cranky or unbearable, ditzy or crude than with your family. And it is so darn comforting.
I have realized it is the single most comforting thing I have ever known. Maybe I will feel that way when I have my own family and my own children, I would imagine so, but for right now, when I am near my family, playing car games, or telling my mom to quit back-seat driving my dad, or falling asleep in a hotel room three each to a bed, with Bella spider monkey that she is, latched onto my neck, I feel like an untouchable. Like nothing could really get to me with them.
I have only ever had this feeling, this complete comfort, untouchable feeling once more in life, not from a family member, but someone I loved all the same. And if you ever experience this feeling, you must know that it is one of the best ways to feel.

I want to tell you a million and one things about my family:

how growing up if we got donuts on a Sunday before church, Savvy would purposefully take forever to eat hers so that she could be smug when we were all done and she still had some left to savor and we all wanted to beat her up.
how we used to play this game on the way home from my grandmas house where we would try to be the closest to determining the exact moment we would stop in our driveway and we would all change our approximations a dozen times to try and be the winner, and half the time end up falling asleep before knowing who won.
how Alexa would sing the word watermelon repeatedly during parts of a song she didn't know because she said it sounded like what the lyrics were supposed to be and it made me utterly hysterical every time.
how Kia knows everything there is to know about France and will give you all the latest and greatest on McDonald's news.
how my dad would watch Bugs Bunny with us on Saturday mornings and find Elmer Fudd so downright hysterical that we would all be laughing in turn, not at the cartoon, but at his reaction to the cartoon.
how on every vacation Jordan would sneak off somewhere in retaliation if my parents didn't give into his demands for a Snickers bar at a bathroom stop.
how my mom is the first person to believe in every crazy dream and aspiration I have and tell me what I am capable of.
how I never wanted to be the last one to fall asleep in my house full of people, because I didn't like the sound of silence, I preferred to fall asleep to chaos and sports on TV, because it meant my dad was home from work and I loved when he was home.

I want to tell you everything there is to know and love about them, to make you understand that I am the luckiest girl in existence when it came to the family lottery, but even if I wrote books on them, which trust me I intend to do, I still couldn't measure the depths of my adoration. Or make you quite understand.

But I do hope you understand the significance of the family you were given because you don't get that kind happiness from anything else in this life. And if you are confused on the depths of your love, like I said, just move across country and you will all of a sudden remember that the reasons you wanted to beat your siblings up as a child are now the same reasons that bring a smile to your face when you are crazed with longing for their presence.

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