Sunday, March 25, 2012
The Family That Plays Together
a cousin who I have always been in awe of. She is a few years older than me but growing up she was always at that age that was "cool." When I was six, she was twelve. When I was twelve, she was eighteen. And so on and so forth. But she never treated me like an annoying little cousin. When I was twelve, she took me horse back riding with some of her sorority sisters. When I moved away to New York (the first time) she organized a party for the other Virgos in the family but hung a banner that said, "Happy Birthday, Lindsey!" She had every member of the family pose beneath it and then she made me a scrapbook and sent it to me. She has always been thoughtful like this, creative like this, and on Saturday she did it again along with her two little girls, and her mom, my Aunt Jennifer. Together they threw Mike and I an amazingly beautiful engagement party complete with party favors tied with ribbons with our wedding date printed on them. They had platters of dolma, a food I love and just wrote about how special it is to me since it reminds me of the little piece of Armenian heritage we still have. There was a princess cake with my favorite sweet flavors- mint and chocolate. There were red velvet cupcakes and bubbles and champagne glasses for a toast. The party had all of the details I would never think of and yet was so moved by. I don't know how to thank my cousin for the thought and time and love put into this. I don't know how to thank my Aunt Jennifer who put just as much time and thought and love and money (!) into this and who greeted my mom with an enormous hug after not seeing her for almost 20 years. Or her husband, my uncle Don, who emailed me to see if I liked the invitation. I also don't know how to thank my Dad for bringing everyone together in honor of me and Mike, or his girlfriend who poured everyone a glass of champagne and added her cheerfulness and light to the party. How do I thank my Mom for having the courage to walk into a house full of family she had not seen in so long and then to give a toast? Sometimes her strength truly inspires me. And then the round of toasts by my other mothers, my Dad's sisters and the most "straight to the heart of marriage toast" given by Aunt Mama Gail whose smile I miss more and more every time I see it. Her hugs are the kind that last a long time. And my cousins with their humor and banter and true Irish gift of gab. Or my brother who gave the sweetest toast to his new brother-in-law. Or the friends who came from Rialto? Family who drove from Palos Verdes? We are talking two hour drives, people. Friends who came after a tiring day of work even for just a few minutes? How do I thank the two five year-olds who carefully placed little plastic blue diamonds on the table and made sure I always had bubbles in my hands? Or the godson who throws his arms around me and tells me not to go when I tell him I have to leave? Or the cousin-in-law who plans to "bejewel" me for my wedding when there is nothing more valuable than her laughter and support. She makes me feel like I kind of know what it's like to have a sister. Or the cousins who made sure to give Mike a welcome and a warning? And my Aunt who welcomed him to "the outlaws." Or my grandma who told me I was lucky. My fiance is sweet AND cute. I was overwhelmed by how incredible my family was, is. For hours, my cousins' kids, ages 2- 9, (the great grand kids) threw oranges in the jacuzzi and then would erupt into laughter when they would float to the top. The kids eventually stripped down to their underwear laughing and screaming and splashing and the adults just enjoyed to see them all so happy together. Maybe it also reminded us all of how we once got to play like that with each other, too. When someone said, what if someone falls in, Gail said, "We got a net." I know that this past weekend will go down as one of those memories I relive over and over, a perfect example of the love and laughter and triumphs we share in this crazy family of mine, this family of mine that I miss so, so much and I'm forever grateful and proud to belong to.