Thursday, March 13, 2008

family ties

Sometimes the ties that bind us are loose but they are there....

Last night Didier and I had company. Sandra, Brittney and Brianna came for dinner. And no, before you ask, they're not drag queens... Sandra is my (first) First Cousin (I in fact only have two - her and her brother Todd), Brittney (her daughter) and Brianna (Brit's friend). They're up in Montréal from Halifax for Spring Break and are on a full tilt boogie, do not pass go, shopping expedition.

I received a Facebook message a couple weeks ago indicating they were headed up to Montréal for the week and wanted to know if we could get together and what was there to do (aside from shopping) We exchanged a few emails and planned to meet.

They came up via Via (heh) and were supposed to arrive at 8 am on Sunday. We were supposed to meet at their hotel and then D. and I were going to take them out for brunch and show them around a bit. But due to the massive snow storm on Saturday, they were twice delayed en route. They only arrived at 4 am on Monday morning. I apologized to them last night, because as you will recall, I am personally responsible for the amount of snow we received.

So, to take a breather from their don't eat-don't drink-don't sleep shopping extravaganza, they did take a timeout to come by our place. We sat around the living room, munching on corn chips and Didier's delicious guacamole. I threw together a yummy meal of mango chutney pork with rice and veggies. We chatted, getting caught up; which is no small feat... while our family is small and as I've said, I only have two first cousins, our family, like many, is not without it's long time dramas and issues. I'd go so far as to say that a family without such drama is actually the truly dysfunctional type, in that dysfunctional families are the norm, at least as far as with almost everyone I know. My family being no exception.

What is remarkable is that I couldn't tell you most of what those dramas are. I really, in all honesty don't know what the issues were/are between My father and his brother (Sandra's father) that caused such family rifts over so many years. Suffice to say, they are probably as truly insignificant as those my Brother harbours toward my parents and some others of the family - we get along, but then I last saw him in Dec 2005 and last spoke in an email almost a year ago and I've got no plans to bother with him going forward... (Hmmm, so I guess the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree). What you do do is stop trying to figure these things out. Stop asking questions. Stop trying to analyze and diagnose these things. Well, at least that what I did, mind you moving 1000 kms away from the overwhelming majority of that activity makes such cessations possible.

...back to Sandra and me...Thing is, I don't have many memories with Sandra. In fact, I can run them down for you now. (no worries it won't take long) :

- Christmas 1975 or 76 I can vaguely recall being over at my Uncle Roy and Aunt Betty's and being on the floor in the living room with Sandra and Todd, all dressed in our 'jammies' and playing.

- Aug 1997 when my Brother was married. I saw her for a bit then.

- Christmas 1995 or 96 and my Mom and I visited Aunt Betty and Sandra in their new apt, when Brit was but a wee baby...

- Christmas 2005 (do you see a trend here?!). Didier and I were at my parents and Sandra Betty and Brittney came over for a visit.

and then...
- March 12 2008, here in Mtl.

Yup, that's pretty much it! I am sure there were a few other occasions, but for all intents and purposes, these are all times I can lucidly recall being with Sandra. And yes, it's as much as a shame as it sounds.

We have a great visit last night. And what was really interesting to me, aside from interacting as adults - something it seems our parents were incapable of - was that through it all there was no baggage or issues for us. And even more comforting to me were our similar, but due to family dynamics, separate memories of our Grandmother. Though the night, without intending to, we both recounted, reminisced and recalled multiple memories of her. All the same but different... remembering the white boxes tied with string she'd bring from the French Bakery, her love of red-dyed pistachios (what is WITH those?!), her vocal dislike of nursing homes (even though the haze of old age and illness) and on and on.

Gotta say, Sandra is one fine lady. Raising her daughter alone (well not ALONE alone, but you know... single mom alone) and doing a great job of it...Brittney is turning into a fine young lady herself... although her apparent dislike of ice cream, cakes, cookies and all things 'sweet' is a bit of a caution.

We got on like a house on fire. I'm proud to call them my family and look forward to seeing them again. Didier and I have insisted they visit Mtl in the summer, when of course the list of things to do and see multiples like two rabbits in a burrow, and she scolded us that we had better not visit Halifax again without looking them up. All parties were in 100 agreeance.

So, sometimes the ties that bind are not tied too tight, but they're there.
And I'm glad they are.


Maria said...

1) I SO agree, every family has these issues. I remember as a kid our family (my parents) getting together with each of their siblings and their families for special holidays that all us kids looked forward to. (My dad and his brother with his family, and my mom with her brother and his family). Well, one fine Christmas Day they all got into this HUGE blow-out about property in Greece. Who should get what, etc... and before we knew it all the kids were scooped up and everyone left. Leaving me, my brother and ALL my cousins in SHOCK! Since then it was never the same between them. All the kids however, we have all remained SO, close, and we all laugh at how our parents re-acted so stupid! Life is so short, what is the point of all these feuds?People grow old and end up dying and they missed out on so much.

#2: The most recent drama was when hubby and I married in 1992 & my mom a typical "MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING" woman, who first replied "he's NOT greek" when I told her about him and took - 5 years before she even spoke to me after our wedding. Now LOVES my hubby. So much so, that when we were over last night visiting and I was talking with my dad (who I adore) interupts me and says "HEY, your husband is speaking to you - ANSWER HIM!" .... huh...WHOA, NELLY!

Misster Kitty said...

Oye! Families...

Go know!