I spent the last few days traveling through the cities, rural areas, and towns of my home state. I spent the night at my sister’s house and drove through some of the world’s most beautiful scenery to see my friend and her progeny. It was warm enough to sit on the porch and look at the mountains.
My friend and I walked and walked as her baby slept against her and talked up a storm. J and I have been friends since we were seven, and even as our lives have changed, we still find everything to talk about. We once sat in a bar and talked about how we had the most similar family/social background of anyone we knew.
I sat in another friend’s living room and watched how we sat similarly. The last time I saw her, we realized by a convoluted discussion about funerals in Indianapolis that we were actually cousins by marriage. This is normal for people who grow up in the same region or who have huge families. But S and I grew up in different parts of the country, and were friends in grad school. For years I have joked that all Jews are related, and this just proves me right.
It turns out her great great uncle was my step grandfather. Her mother was close to my (step) grandfather and sent me a picture of his 90th birthday party. I didn’t even have to enlarge the photo from the thumbnail to recognize my young dark-haired mother in the back row next to my tall blond father. Predictably, my third sister was the one in the front of the huge family photo with a dog on her lap. Third Sister is always the one with the dog. Always.
I meant this to be a post about how I talk about my manuscript, but in fact this is a post about family. I saw two of my sisters, my niece who just turned eighteen, my brother-in-law, and one of my very closest friends, and my good friend/cousin. J in particular is family. When my mother was dying, I called her up and said, “Can I come stay on your couch tonight and for an unknown period of time?” She said yes, as I knew she would.
I do not have children, but I have friends with awesome children. I can read to them, help them figure out how to play dressup, and when deserved, I hold them up side down as they shriek. I’ve got this niece who is all grown up and asking me complicated questions about college. I’ve got a friend up here who calls me sister (only because she has brothers and doesn’t know how complicated sisters are).
The trip was much better than expected. Where have you been? Where are you from? Who is your family?