Family, Part I
Valentine’s weekend. Love was in the air, the just-slightly-cool air of an ocean breeze, as my toes bathed in the surf. I stood on this romantic beach in Miami not with my lover but with my brother and his partner. Once we left the beach, we had to hurry back to shower, shave, and constrain ourselves in suits and ornamental nooses, because it was time for another brother’s wedding. Altogether there are four brothers, of whom I am the youngest, and three of us were there due to the relentless prodding of my new sister-in-law. This prodding may or may not have included financial aid, guilt, and/or electricity.
This event brought a total of four weddings among three brothers, including two divorces, and one brother’s right to marry denied. Only the first in the series, the oldest brother’s wedding, was attended by the entire immediate family. No other family members were present at the next two weddings. But that simply wasn’t going to be allowed this time. My family has never been particularly close and those bonds have been weakened all the more by separations of age, geography, and religious views. Once my father passed away and my mother subsequently developed dementia, we lost much of the impetus to gather at holidays or just because.
I’ve long found myself envious of people I’ve known who had strong family ties, counted siblings or cousins among their best friends, knew automatically where they would be and what they would do on any given holiday; the kind who, if asked who or what is most important in their life, will always say “family” as their first answer. I’ve longed to become one of those people.
The story of my family is now a story of four families: the one I was born into, the one I was married into, the one my brother just now married into, and the one of my best friend that I have been “adopted” into. That means there’s three more parts to this story to come, so stay tuned. To be continued…