Friday, August 22, 2008

Throw another log on it

I love my nuclear family deeply for the simple fact I feel as though I know them inside and out; Emma, Finn, and Leif are unique individuals who hold little mystery for me. All three of them are part of my daily routine and fuel the fire within me. I have come to depend on their consistent yet diverse personalities. They are my comfort and my challenge.
My cousin and one of my best friends, Annie, was in for the night. Upon waking this morning I found her deep in conversation with my kids. I love seeing Emma and Finn light up around our extended family. I treasure the fact that they have their own special friendships with Annie, my parents, Leif's mom, and everyone in between. I do not interfere with these relationships because I know I was raised by and around inherently good people and I firmly believe a whole person can only emerge once they have learned about independence and trust from family beyond the folks sitting at the dinner table on a nightly basis.

My dining room is a tribute to that belief. The room is filled with photographs of all the people who are responsible for our existence, the beliefs we hold, and the legacy we are responsible for. Everyone loves my old lady dining room. Annie took a look around today...perhaps she was looking for someone who wasn't represented on the walls. We had laid out a gorgeous spread of food; her mom was coming to lunch.

Annie and her mom, Kathy, spend a week-end in Chicago together every year and I benefit from the trip too. When Annie's mom meets her for their girly week-end it often happens at my house. I always take special care when Kathy comes to visit, not because she will judge me if everything isn't perfect, but because I miss my Auntie Kathy. There are not any pictures of her in my dining room because, for whatever reason, circumstances snatched her from my life. I know her now through her daughter and believe Annie keeps the connection strong by regaling her with the tales of the Elsmo four. Auntie Kathy comes to my grown up home holding memories of my childhood Christmases, thanksgiving Turkeys, and one very bad pumpkin soup. I want her to know my family, if only briefly, to show her how deeply we care for her daughter, and to remind her she has mattered in my life beyond my childhood. I am not sure cheeses and wine can do that, but I will hang the photo of Annie and my Auntie Kathy on my dining room wall as soon as possible to remind myself everyday.

Sooo...just when I was feeling confident that things had gone well Finn accidentally started his mail on fire. A fifty dollar check can cause some distracted excitement, he dropped the envelope in a nearby candle, and a first time fire related hullabaloo ensued in the Elsmo household.

Family, the everyday and in between, is a fire that burns full force or at a gentle smoulder depending on circumsatnce. It is a fine day when a forgotten buring ember flares up and reminds you that your life is a sum of its parts. I'd like to keep that log burning.

1 comment:

Annie said...

I thought you were just taking a picture of the food! But no matter how many times I look at those pictures I always look again and see something new.

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