the fam.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

i have a lot of favorite words.
wonderful.  awesome.  fabulous.  shizzle.  jackhole.
suck it (o.k. that's two words.)
time for bed (and yeah, that's three.)
but i LOVE the word FAMILY.
and i love MY family.
they're crazy.  each and every one of 'em, in their own special way.
but so am i, so it works out.
but family. . .what an amazing concept.
people, randomly thrown together, by God, fate, whatever you believe in.
under a roof.
to live, breathe and grow together,  for years,
only to leave and go our separate ways.
but forever connected because of that bond, of
we certainly didn't get to choose them, but they are ours.
and we do our best to embrace them, even if we don't like them sometimes.
and this is part of mine.
these are two of the most beautiful women i know.  my sisters, barb & suz.
{and suzie's super annoyed that my camera is out. . .hence the 'God-i'm-going-to-give-a-half-ass-smile, but-man-do-i-hate-you'-look.}
there's enough piss and vinegar {and stubbornness} between the 3 of us to fill a warehouse,
but it's ok.  because we're family, and we 'get' each other, our weaknesses and strengths.
family is more than just the small US.
everyone that circled your childhood, raised you, watched you, taught you, grew with you.
there's the EXTENDED family. . .
the aunts & uncles, cousins & their significant others. . .
the in-laws, the outlaws.
the 'rest' of the family, haphazardly thrown in your mix, as well,
all bringing THEIR own shizzle to the table,
and we learn to accept each other as is.
we welcome 'significant others' in, and are thankful we did.
because they're frickin' awesome.

like drunkel russell (we call him.)
{suz's hubbie, russ, tries to show us his mad hula-hoopin' skillz.}
and then barb's man does too.
barb gets in on the action.
well then i've gotta' get in on this action.
but none of us have ANYTHING on my gracie.
{i might devote an entire blog post to gracie and her hula hoops.  she's awesome and takes them everywhere.  kind of weird.  but so adorable.}
but while we're busy showing off our stuff,
jack plays cards with uncle dave in the warmth of the evening Easter Sunday sun,
tuna finds himself a sunny spot to eat candy out of the grass, as usual.
i reflect on family.
our uniqueness within it.
how so totally different we all are,
conservative, liberal, shy, obnoxious, big, small, loving, mean, boring, interesting. . .
yet how similar.
and how connected, no matter the distance, the time, the differences.
{barb and her adorable beau, tony.}
barb, being herself.:)
wow, that's pretty, barb.:)
our family functions.  that include lots of alcohol.  and TOO much food.
and why's it so hard to get a picture with my husband?!
i fight for it, every time.

and the short time, i get to spend at these holidays, with my cousins. 
who are all super cool.
{not all cousins shown here.}

{my cousin, who we used to call andy panda.  tatoo is fitting.  and hilarious.}
these are just a small peek at my cousins. . .there are more.
but holidays with my family.
are casual.  relaxing.  pot-luck and binge style.
where late afternoon sun bounces off pie tins, inviting us to 'oh, just one more piece.'
too much poppyseed bread, sauerkraut, candy, fruit salad (the naughty kind. . .with the marshmallows and whip cream.)
unbutton our pants and loosen our belt buckles and lay on the ground in sweet agony.
but as we've all gotten older,
and smarter,
we try to eat less, choose more wisely,
games of schmeer and blackjack and backgammon distract us from the food,
where my cozy polish family
spends more time pulling up chairs, reminiscing, laughing,
barb tells suzie to have a listen to her 'food baby.'
my tired babes {the only small children,) are swept up and cuddled.
or find a corner to stretch in.
and the heart of the family, grandma.
who's 90. . .something.
sharp as a tack, a steel-trap mind.

and despite weak knees and quiet ears, is still getting around and cranks up the hearing aid if need be,
who always takes up residence on a good chair,
sitting back with grandpa and watching the crowd, that is her family.
the people that came from him and her, essentially.
leaving her lipstick stains on our cheeks and her coffee cup.
her weathered hands, from decades of dish-washing, cleaning, laundry and grand-children-cheek-pinching,
just sitting and taking it all in.
this heart of our family, who has spent much of the past years,
shuffling between the church and her kitchen,
the kitchen and her easy-chair on the davenport.
where those same hands, have run along countless rosary beads,
her daily prayers flowing forth, for us.
{more on this special woman later.:)}
but unlike most things in life,
it is our family, that is constant.
and i believe, like our health,
the only thing we've got.
despite distance, past hardships, frustration,
they'll forever be a part of you,
maybe causing the deepest pain, but if you'll let them,
and you're lucky enough,
the greatest joy.


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