Last weekend my cousin and I threw a baby shower for my sister. This is not new to us. We throw parties together on what now seems like a regular basis. You need a party, you call us. We come as a set. Don’t bother asking for one without the other, it’s not done. She hosts, I plan. She smiles prettier than I do, I mostly look like a maniac. We have a routine.
I had an epiphany as I held the ladder for my cousin, as she teetered above me, holding on for dear life to the roof of her house while simultaneously trying to attach yards of linen to heavy twine. I stood below her hoping she wouldn’t fall, trying to contain my laughter but also having epiphanies.
See, we’re family. I know you realized that from reading the very first sentence but we haven’t always been family. I mean we’ve always been blood relatives but up until five years ago we only knew each through our mother’s stories, occasional pictures tossed our way from old Christmas cards, and the obligatory reunions for death, marriage and birth. We were that kind of family. The usual kind. We all have that kind of family. And that kind of family is good for a tree. It fills branches. It makes a nice album. It’s fun to flip the pages, laugh at the funny hair styles and fashions of time and place. But after a while those albums get relegated to forgotten closets. They get pushed further back in the nooks and crannies that get so lost eventually they really don’t ever get out again and soon they aren’t ours anymore.
So, I’m glad that my cousin and I aren’t that kind of family anymore. I’m glad she and I throw parties together. That we struggled ten minutes and bruised our knuckles trying to figure out that ladder, the one that later threatened her life. I’m glad she glares at me when I explain to her exactly how complicated my idea really is and how much work it will entail. It means I’m “picture on the fridge” family. “Get mad at me now” family. “Call me at the last minute” family. That’s the best kind of family anyway.
Go ahead and call for any party needs. Her name is…, oh wait, she’s telling me not to give out her information, I’m confused. I’ll get back to you on that.