Excerpt from “My Lovedance”
And I write this now while sitting in the cool cave-like basement of my sister’s house in Utah. I am taking refuge from the heat of the kitchen. Literally, it’s hot at 8:30 in the morning in mid-September. Mom started cooking meatballs as soon as the sun was up. Yes, meatballs. We’re having a baby shower. Doesn’t everyone have meatballs at a shower?
And it’s figuratively hot up there. My sisters and I are so different. They hate honey. I love honey. They ask me to make granola while I’m here. But it requires honey. They concede. And vanilla and cinnamon and ginger…
“Oh, no ginger!” They say.
“But you liked my granola” enough to ask me to make it again, “and I make it with ginger.”
“We liked the first batch you gave us, that last batch was too much.”
Hmmm. And I say aloud, “That’s interesting, cause my family liked that batch the best.”
“We’re your family!”
“I mean the family I created.” And I come downstairs to take refuge in my writing as I have done since I was a girl.
My sisters are much closer to one another than I am to any of them. I’ve tried over the years. I should be with them now shopping, (which I hate – to shop – not them) bonding, yet it is not my way. Really has never been. Besides it’s that Last Minute Lizzie thing. Although I must admit every gathering is a bit better. They seem more prepared or perhaps I am more tolerant.
My memories and theirs are not the same. We witnessed our lives so differently. And they have taken refuge in each other so their memories have merged. I am learning to love them where they are now. Even if I do not get a voice. That’s why they do not know me and probably I do not know them very well. Trying to separate one from the pack is hard. So when we get together I am lost.
They attend well to one another yet not to me. True we don’t have much in common. They read all the same books. They listen to same music. They all watch TV. And that’s what they like to talk about…the fiction, the rock stars, the reality shows. I can’t keep up.
So our bonding over the years has come in the form of crisis…I’m good with helping others in need. So they come for support and I try to offer wisdom, some of which they receive. And then I do not hear from them until the next crisis or family gathering, whatever comes first.
This gathering is my fault. I wanted, truly wanted, to honor my niece who is having the first baby. I said nothing, but if I want it enough, it becomes. So I was not surprised shortly after voicing my desire to Steve, I get a call from my sister. She wants to surprise her daughter with a baby shower and would like for me to come. So here I am.
Wondering how they will feel about my telling my story…
Do we really choose the family we’re born in? I do believe so…to learn soul lessons. Mine has taught me tolerance. And how to be my truth in the midst of chaos…I’m still working on this one. Because family of origin brings up your deepest darkest soul issues. Goddess, bless them.
They’re home now…I can hear their pounding footsteps above me and their loud voices…sounds like arguing but it’s not. It’s family that loves so hard to bruise. When it comes down to what’s important…our family gathers…and cooks and eats, and sticks together because blood is thicker than water. But that’s Italian…isn’t it?
Besides the sauce is off. Remember the meatballs? There’s no wine. It’s my Mormon sister’s daughter who’s having a baby. Oh, and Mom couldn’t find oregano That’s ok. My sister takes me out to her garden… “Isn’t this oregano” Yep. I snip some off and take it into the hot kitchen to help fix the sauce that will smother the meatballs that the guests will enjoy in honor of my niece. She’s having a baby! And maybe I can get some time alone with her and offer a sacred feminine blessing. I think she’ll like that…