Saturday, June 26, 2010

We Are Family

Get up ev'rybody and sing...

Alan’s dad had his 80th birthday celebration the other day. Years ago they sold everything, their house and most of their belongings, and bought a motor home. They travel around when they want. They also manage, for lack of a better word, a park where people can camp in their RVs or in tents, or they can bring their boats and go out on the lake or just come in for a picnic or to spend the day. The park is in Arkansas. So, we made a weekend trip to Arkansas.


I really wasn’t keen on going. It’s a long way, 700 plus miles each way, I haven’t seen any of them in years, and it was just easier to stay home. But Alan decided he wanted to go and Bryce was going to be there so I decided to go to because at least I’d be able to see Bryce for a while.

It turned out to be a good visit and after the fact I was glad I went. There were a lot of people there and it made Fagin’s birthday a good celebration for him. It was good to see some of the cousins, brother and sister in laws and their kids.

All but one Swinford boy

Some of the Dickson cousins

Family is an interesting thing. I did a Google search to see how the web defined family.
  • a social unit living together;
  • primary social group; parents and children;
  • class: a collection of things sharing a common attribute;
  • people descended from a common ancestor;
  • kin: a person having kinship with another or others;
  • (biology) a taxonomic group containing one or more genera;
  • syndicate: a loose affiliation of gangsters in charge of organized criminal activities
  • an association of people who share common beliefs or activities;
Our immediate family has a good relationship with each other. I think we could even be described as a close family. Of course all opinions will be from my perspective! If you ask one of the kids you might get a completely different story. In face I’m almost sure of it. We’ve had ups and downs, as in any family, and there are stories I could share! But altogether I think it’s been a good experience for us all.
The kids are still close. They keep in touch and share secrets. They’ll gang up on each other, two to one with the team members rotating. One time it might be two brothers against a sister. Other times it’s one or the other brother teamed up with the sister. But in the end, they all seem to forgive and forget. They call regularly or text, just to say hello or see what’s going on.

When I started thinking about family I realized that we are all we have. I know people say that all the time but in this case it’s really true.

The kids have grandparents. Alan’s dad, of course, and step-mother, and my parents are still living. I don’t know if it’s distance or busyness with others or just lack of interest, but none of them have much to do with my kids. It used to bother me but it doesn’t now. It’s just how it is. It’s sad because they don’t know what they’ve missed by not being involved in their activities. I’m sure they love the kids and I hope the kids love them. But life got in the way. Alan’s mother, Nanny as the kids called her, went the extra mile to be sure she was up to date in all the goings on in their lives. The kids loved their Nanny. And she loved them. She gave to them unselfishly. She griped at them but only to encourage them to be better. She supported them in their activities and in their schooling. She had some bad habits but so does everyone. I didn’t particularly like or dislike her. I think it was a mutual toleration on both our parts. But the kids say she always spoke favorably of me around them. Duh…what could she say about their mother to them? When their Nanny died last year they were heartbroken. Callye, especially misses her because she lived near her and she saw her often. They were very close and they took care of each other. They were kind of like sisters because they’d fuss and fight then make up and be best buddies. She visits her grave on a regular basis.

Callye and Nanny

Callye and baby Evan

We have three grandchildren now, all my daughter’s. Neither of the boys is married or has children. We love the little guys dearly and sometimes they are the only reason to smile in my life. I don’t want to be an absentee grandparent. I have had to miss some important things already because of work. And I’ve already heard that the grands think I’m always at work and am always busy. Some of it can’t be helped. Schedules, both theirs and ours, make some things impossible. Luckily, though, we live close enough for a day trip. They are only about 100 miles away and out here, that’s nothing! With school and extra-curricular activities, it’s easier for us to visit than for them to come here. But I don’t want to intrude, to be the mother-in-law whose visits are dreaded. So, neither of us goes as often as we could.

I can see history repeating itself. A family with three little kids and one set of grandparents who think they are special. I want us to become more of a regular fixture in their lives. I want them to come here and I want us to go there. I want them to be happy to see both me and Pappy. And right now they are! I want to be the one who brings them prizes and the one who lets them eat candy before supper. I want to be to them like Nanny was to my kids.

We were all together not long ago. Roseanne was on TV. The kids laughed as they compared something said on Rosanne to something someone in our family might say. One of them made the comment that our family is not THAT dysfunctional. I think we’ve lived, worked, grown and loved together. We have a bond that can’t be broken. I know we certainly aren’t the Brady Bunch but I don’t think we’re Roseanne either. We are a social unit living together, parents and children, people descended from a common ancestor, who share a common attribute, and have a kinship with others. I suppose we are a taxonomic group in a sense and I know we share common beliefs and/or activities. As far as I know, though, nobody is gangsters in charge of criminal activities! We are family.

Knitayear goes on. I’m planning to break my project into seasons with April, May and June being spring. I’m almost done with spring! It’s been busy at work and in general so there are a lot of days in this post. I’d like to be able to blog and write every day or so but it takes me a lot of time to put together something that makes sense. Makes sense to me anyway! But I’ll keep on knitting for sure and try to keep writing too. Day 79 was a travel day, to Arkansas. It’s more than 700 miles. I’m driving. I’m in a persistent sort of mood, just driving on until we get there. I picked a blue/gold/purple variegated eyelash yarn. It reminded me of the landscape all blurred together as we drove on and on and on. Day 80, ironically, was the day we visited with Fagin for his 80th birthday. I was apprehensive at first but after we got there and it was just he, Alan, Bryce and me, it was just like it was way back when I first met him. I was comfortable. I chose a green acrylic that is one of my favorite yarns ever in the color. It’s green and pretty in Arkansas and it symbolized that as well as how calm and comfortable things were. Day 81 was the dinner with all of the family and it was a good time; Lots of visiting, good food and fellowship and 700 plus miles back home. We got a late start but knew we had to continue, regardless. I had a scrap of red/pink/yellow variegated I added. It was like the sunset after we’d been on the road a while, the sunset that continued across the horizon. It’s short, like the visit. Monday, June 21, day 82 was a busy day at work. There are still things to be put away after the big move and three workshops to get done. I worked hard all day, planning and preparing. If preparing can be a mood that’s what my mood was. I chose a purple that knitted up well. All the stitches went together and formed a fabric that was strong but left room to breathe. It reminded me of my upcoming week; strong plans but room to improvise should the need arise. Day 83, was a good day. The workshop went very well and I was satisfied with how it came together, with the results and with the day. I chose a variegated purple/blue/green yarn that has the right colors to blend well and produce a nice yarn. Much like the day, things blended and produced a nice product. Day 84 brought a pale green that surprisingly blended well with the variegated from the day before. It was not a good day. It sounds funny coming from someone in education, but I detest stupid people. And what I detest more is someone who is so smart, making a big mistake out of carelessness and stupidity. Everyone makes mistakes but this was just plain…I can’t even think of a word to describe it. The more I thought about it the more annoyed I became. I’ll just have to remember, this too will pass. And soon I hope. Day 85 was another workshop that went really well. Even my co-presenter was pleased. I chose a very thick maroon yarn. It seemed like a happy color to me and I was happy everything worked out like it did. Day 86 was a day off. That is always welcome! So what did I do? I worked on stuff for work, at least half a day. So much for being off. I should have just gone in and gotten credit for the day! I was complacent though, because I could do what I wanted at my own pace. I chose a light pink yarn with little ribbons coming off of it. This yarn is smooth for a while then a ribbon flies off in whatever direction it chooses. It was much like today. I could do this, I could sit, and I could do that, whenever I pleased. This knitayear is much like a family is made. A stitch at a time, some yarns fitting in, some not, but all of it going together to make a cohesive fabric that is unique, beautiful in its own way and above all else, strong.

Ev'ryone can see we're together as we walk on by
and we fly just like birds of a feather I won't tell no lie
all of the people around us they say
Can they be that close
Just let me state for the record
We're giving love in a family dose

We are family
Get up ev'rybody and sing

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