A Family is a Work of Art
Weddings are typically a time to put your life in perspective, remember what true love is really about, find that old spark, remember what true love looks like, see how far you've come since your wedding, wait! true love? what?, see old friends and family, wonder if the happy couple is truly in love, and just plain have a good, old, loving time. Truly. So, in light of that, it is small wonder that my son and I, sans hubby and baby girl, barrelled (quietly, of course! I am teaching him manners, after all) through the back doors of the church, the church where I got married, in fact, just in time to hear the minister say...I now present to you, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Honey. A bit anticlimatic, sure, but, hey, we made it. And all the relatives thought we were just in back because I was thoughtfully trying to keep the little guy quiet during the ceremony. Of course I told my mother the truth.
The little guy was dually unimpressed with the bride and fascinated with the bride's father's oxygen machine, the bubbles we were handed as we walked out of the church, and the prospect of cake later. And so, off we went to the reception, by way of picking up hubby who appeared from the depths of my parent's house, hair mussed, sweat pouring down his face, bemoaning the fact that the baby didn't nap and did he really have to wear a shirt and tie? I'm telling you--weddings--the ultimate family party.
Which brings me to family. The bride's mother's family all look alike. I wonder if they think that about other families? The groom's mother looked like she must have had him when she was seven, and my long lost (read: estranged) aunt was there in true Aunt C. form, acting like she hadn't shunned the enite group that was assembled for 18 years. Oh, and my other cousin has a brother 23 months older who he just met 7 years ago. If I was in the market to write fiction, I sure could. In fact, I think any aspiring writer should just drop by a wedding reception, maybe even the ceremony, and chat up a few of the party-goers. The interesting thing is, everyone acted most hospitably. There were no scenes, no drama. It was the unscripted, unspoken undercurrent that intrigues me. Maybe that's why people write at all, to get to the heart of the unspoken, to speak it, so to speak.
It wasn't until later, back at my parents' camp in the paddle boat with my mother, that we spoke the unspoken. As my mom, my son and I alternately pedaled and stopped to look for fishies around the lake, my mother filled in the backstory of the brother newly revealed. He, too, and his birth, adoption, etc... is the stuff of novels. Back in the late 60s, my cousin M. broke up with her high school boyfriend and moved to Maine. Few (including the guy) knew she was pregnant. She met another man, fell in love, got married, had the baby, and though the new guy would have loved the baby as his own, she gave him up for adoption. In retrospect, probably wise, as she was young and unready for a child. However, my 2nd cousin S. was born just 23 months later. M. went on to marry and divorce several times, eventually leaving the area and the family proper. The adopted son, at the prompting of his wife, looked her up, sent her a letter in Texas, and that same week was sent on a business trip to...Texas. Clearly the universe at work.
I write all this not to bore my many readers (ha!), but to illustrate what is so un-illustratable about families. They are not picture perfect. They can not be drawn without erasing, and starting again, and again. They are like abstract art with a little fauvism (wild beasts, crazy colors, green sky, red trees, yellow mountains) and impressionism thrown in. A family is a Jackson Pollack splatter painting with some VanGogh wind swirls running through it in white-washed blue. A Monet waterlily pond, up close a discordant jumble of so many little dots in harmonious colors, built up to render, when seen from afar, a sturdy bridge. And, of course, in true wild beast (Fauves) fashion, a stand of red trees, branches stretching high off the page, roots fading into orange. Thus, the theme for my meandering blog this evening: a family is a work of art.
And just in case you were wondering, after our whirlwind trek to the Adirondacks and back, my nuclear family is sun-kissed, bug bit and happily intact. Truly.
Thanks for reading.