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Browsing Tag: family

This is Not a Story You’ll Tell at Parties

I’ve realized recently that I don’t write about my mom very often, and when I do, it’s always sort of about her as a part of something else–my dad’s life, or my children’s. I’m not proud of this–mom is an integral part of my life, after all, and of our life as a family. Why don’t I discuss her? Why don’t I talk about her? I mean, we’ve gotten pretty tight, especially in these past ten years, and our relationship is–outside of a bumpy decade or so I’ll just call adolescence–for the most part, easy. So maybe that’s it: maybe the easy is why she hasn’t appeared on these pages so often. See, Mom is my constant. She’s as much a part of the framework of my life that to write about her sometimes feels like writing about what it’s like to breathe, or eat yogurt for breakfast, or put in a load of laundry for Clean Sheets Day. Mom is my constant: she…

Because the Food is at Your Fingertips, Children

The girls and I are sitting on the couch, talking about…food. It’s a regular discussion around here. On this particular afternoon, the girls are saying that they don’t like the chicken nuggets served from the school cafeteria because “they taste like a freezer.” I’m kind of impressed that they would notice something like that and make a lighthearted compliment about their palates, which–as such a comment would, in Nowhere Land, I suppose–immediately insults them. Saoirse is the first to get defensive. “Well, I still like sugary stuff,” she says, like I’m about to deny her ice cream cones forever.  “It’s a compliment,” I reply. “It means that when you travel around the world some day you’ll be able to land in any country and enjoy whatever food you find there.”  My comment worked: the girls perked up, and thankfully the conversation shifted. Quinlan: “I want to travel.” Saorse: “I want to go to Mexico.” Quinlan, to Saoirse: “You’ll have to speak Spanish in Mexico. So you have to learn your Spanish.” Saoirse nods…

On Showing Up

My cousin Joe passed away two weeks ago–he was 80, and had been in diminishing health. Joe and his wife, Ro, are some of my favorite people in the extended family: funny and smart and to me, growing up, the epitome of class. Ro was gorgeous and always put-together, and Joe was friendly and interested. They were loving, funny, Ro dry and sarcastic, Joe silly. She’s Italian and petite, he Irish, tall and lanky. They made me feel comfortable, even when I was young girl quaking with discomfort in large gatherings of strange relatives. But here’s the thing I always admired most about both of them: Joe and Ro were “show-uppers.” Joe and Ro were the distant cousins who come to everything, surprising us every time, even though we shouldn’t have been: all the family events, big and small, no matter the distance. When we threw my mom a surprise birthday dinner in Hershey last December, they were there, despite the late hour, the dark roads from Wynnewood, and Joe’s declining health. When my father died nine years ago, they drove out not only to my…