Most would agree that families are the most important, influential grouping in all of society. And while we hope that is a loving, nurturing environment, the relationships may not always be so.
We grow in life. We become the people we are, often as a result of our hits and misses in the family. In the family everyone takes on a persona. There’s the mean one who admittedly can cut you off at the kneecaps, the withdrawn loner, the smart studious one that comes across as the know-it-all, the troublemaker who has had problems with enforcement, the irresponsible one who thinks we don’t know the truth, the quick-to-temper one, the messy and lazy one, the bossy one, the cheerful one who does not always think it through, the one who takes guilt for everything including the Benghazi attack. Some members wear more than one hat.
If we are lucky, we come to realize the areas where we need to grow. We work hard in our lives to overcome these foibles. And each to some degree is successful in his or her quest. But when in the company of those who have known us longest, the stereotypes we worked so hard to distance ourselves from are alive and well.
Aware of all these possibilities, I took a deep breath and tossed the odds to the gods when I planned a family vacation to Costa Rica last August. While everyone returned alive (a miracle in itself), there’s been a few who have regrouped and taken more than an arm’s distance.
Yesterday I took the grandkids, for want of a better place, to Nickel, Nickel. It’s a video dive. It houses many cut-rate video machines, with instructions often in Japanese, and rundown arcade games. The Worms wild hawkeyed throw in ski ball luckily made it in the 100,000 point pocket in the very back corner three times in one game. The strip of tickets grew handily. Meanwhile the Bug gathered his tickets and added them to the pot. Even the Mouse played tic-tac-toe, throwing rubber balls into holes worth points. At the end, each child had earned the right to spend 150 points. The Bug selected a decision making dice and some poppers. The Mouse selected two red plastic spiders.
But the Worm’s gift was inspired. She selected a necklace made of two halves of one pink heart. Apart they are two pieces of a broken heart, but together they make one whole heart and spell out “Best Friends.” She handed me half of the gift and I placed it around my neck.
The phone rang after I arrived home. It was Cheezy. “I just wanted you to know,” he revealed, “I told Heather I wanted to marry her this weekend.”
“You’re getting married this weekend?” I asked, surprised.
“No,” he laughed, “I told her this weekend that I’d like to marry her in the future.”
“Does she know what family she’s getting into?”
“Yes,” he laughed.
“And she still wants to get married.”
“But you’re not getting married this weekend, right?”
“No,” he laughed.
I smiled. I like Heather. I held onto the broken heart piece around my neck. Isn’t that a mom’s job to keep all the pieces? Someday maybe they’ll all fit together.
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