It's a short drive to crazy with my family. You couldn't even find a detour if there was construction, it's that short. It's arms reach. Crazy just is with my family.
The holidays are obviously the perfect magnifying glass to shine a little more clarity on the madness. Let me sum up some of my family to paint a nice family Christmas card for ya:
Granny-Italian/recovered breast cancer/thyroid problems/diseases that don't even have names/multiple ex-husbands/longtime dancer and amazing bartender. She chipped a tooth once- her solution? Why, a Lee Press-On of course, a nice french manicured fake nail is a good substitute for tooth enamel! Uncle #1-Gay Buddhist. Uncle #2- Cop/biker. Uncle #3- Writer of screenplays/Works for the government his drunk name is "Salty."....can't talk about his job, literally, it's all underground and lie detectors and spies and shit. Aunt #1- dance teacher/Irish/fiery as fuck. She'll kick a bitch. Aunt #2- Formerly single mom, slightly out of control, turned put together Martha Stewart type. Nana- Former court secretary, turned traveler; African safaris, Europe, the Amazon River and so on. She pulls pans out of the oven with her bare hands. BARE. HANDS. Bampa- bless is heart, passed away a few years ago, Gay, the father of my mother. It was the 50's. Granddad-There's a laundry list here of issues. Grandpa Jerry-Best story teller, chain smoker and cherry pie giver known to man.
....then there's a sprinkling of serious Italian Soprano types, crazy cousins, lesbian aunts, Christians, Rebublicans, Canadians, Democrats, and ex-wives, who are boxers. In rings, not the pants.
They're ALL characters. Brilliant, VIBRANT, CERTIFIED, characters. Then of course, there's the biggest characters of all; my Mother and my Father, who joined together in a rage of hormones and unprotected sex and created another burst of spirited existence. i.e. slightly insane little person named me!
My Father and I got into a massive blowout the other night over a birthday party (I cried if I wanted to, don't you worry) a few glasses of champagne, a gigantic restaurant tab and some low blows. Thrown, initially, by him and rebuffed by my quick tongue and shrill screaming. This was the kind of fight I thought we wouldn't recover from..... my Dad, is easily one of my best friends, I admire and look up to him....and I didn't want to look him in the eye ever again.
....after nearly 48 hours a part, some frantic/cry/scream calls to friends to come get me before I "drove my car through the living room!!! and CRUSHED EVERYTHING." My little sister reasoned with us, that we both had "crazy emotions" and needed to apologize. So we did. I told him he was a "out of line and had problems" and and he told me I was "ungrateful and naive" then we hugged it out and I pointed out his new gray hairs.
When you put together the family dynamics we have there's the opportunity for fatal blowouts, and the same opportunity to break seemingly impossible barriers and learn better compassion and understanding for your differences. When people are so vastly different, but their blood is the same, you have two choices; to embrace them, or create a greater wedge by denying them and allowing your differences to determine your relationship, instead of the opposite. Anger happens, it's how you deal with it that's the part that either breaks the family apart, or makes you closer.
Sentences like, "your ignorance astounds me!" have been thrown across our tables and so have, "I'll pray for you." That last one didn't come from my immediate family, oh hellll no and so on......but the truth is, at the end of the day, THESE PEOPLE ARE THE PEOPLE I LOVE. I love their off-color comments and tempers. I love their opinions, their cluelessness, their intelligence. I love that they're geniunly, above all people, the ones that I WANT to spend my time with.
My Dad is the best man in the World and also the person you don't want to fuck with, ever. He's hot headed. He screams from time to time, and thank God I was born with good lungs- cause I'm the only person brave enough to scream back. He's the only human being who I actually believe has the ability to STEAM. Like a cartoon bull, or an iron.....that burns.
But....we all can burn and too often we burn the people we love the most, cause they're the only ones willing to reach out and touch the fire. We're all steaming, flames of ridiculous bursts of light that are both blinding and beautiful in the same glance. The holidays are always such a reminder that we can learn to exist with each other, without judging each other's life choices, spouses, financial decisions, religions, sexual orientation, or career paths. Or heinous holiday earrings. Learning to LOVE it all, even if it's foreign to you is what makes you family, it isn't just the title of sister, or cousin, or the bloodline. We can scream and disagree, but we are family. And you know how Italians feel about family....
WHAT'S YOUR FAMILY LIKE????