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Family, Part I

February 27, 2014
John & Miguel at the beach

John & Miguel at the beach

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.

Us 3 "constrained" that evening

Us 3 “constrained” that evening

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

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2014 11:04 pm

    I was so happy for you. I know how much you’ve wanted your family together and have wanted it for you for a long time. It seems like the prodding is exactly what you needed. Your sister-in-law seems like good peeps and you know I already adore John.

    • Carol Lynne permalink
      February 28, 2014 9:14 am

      Thank you Rebecca, I like to think I am good peeps.

    • February 28, 2014 2:51 pm

      It’s time someone besides you is responsible for prodding me to do the right thing. ;)

  2. Carol Lynne permalink
    February 28, 2014 4:51 am

    Just call me the prodding sister-in-law.

    • February 28, 2014 2:50 pm

      I bet that cattle prod would be handy with the 8th-graders.

      • Carol Lynne permalink
        February 28, 2014 5:56 pm

        It has been a thought.

  3. March 2, 2014 1:17 am

    Happy that you’re reconnecting, (non-biological) Bro. :)

  4. March 6, 2014 3:58 pm

    Great blog J. I wrote a paper in English Comp. my first year at Emory, and it was about families and how life gives you some and you choose others. You did a better job than I expressing your feelings of longing … and the joy of ongoing progress. I look forward to the next installments.

    • March 7, 2014 12:12 am

      Thanks bro. To be fair, I’m a little older now than you were at Emory. I was actually re-reading a college essay tonight and wincing at all my errors and general laziness. Yes, the longing is real. Life hasn’t given either of us the traditional path to starting our own families, but we’re not dead yet!

      • Carol Lynne permalink
        March 7, 2014 7:57 am

        Sometimes the traditional path is not what it is all cracked up to be either.

      • March 7, 2014 8:13 pm

        It isn’t always the best. But society teaches us to dream of that white picket fence, for better or worse.

      • Carol Lynne permalink
        March 9, 2014 6:40 pm

        The day I let go of that dream was the day I first made contact with your brother..

      • March 13, 2014 10:58 pm

        I think the dream was supplanted by a better dream, better still that it came true!

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