I am lucky.
I’ve been thinking about what it means to have other people in your life, and I think it’s got something to do with being excited for and about their overflowing, ridiculous mess of delightful personhood.
For instance, my dad has dabbled in Spanish and Japanese and Basque and knows the few words of French and German and Swedish that his mother and my mother and I have let slip, and his summer job in college was being a cowboy, and he went to state for basketball in high school, and he tried to read me The Hobbit when I was seven years old because he read Lord of the Rings when he was ten, and he loves to sit down with me and my sisters and pore over classes at registration time, and sitting outside in any season while he grills to talk about politics and other things, and he wanders over fields of knee-high golden grass with his dog and I just love him.
And my mother grew up in a suburb of Minneapolis with a salesman father who took a little German in college in Boston (and as such his accent was atrocious) and she read to me and taught me how to skip and how to do laundry and play the piano and once when I was seventeen and crying about I-don’t-even-remember-what on my bedroom floor she came down and found the guitar (which belonged to her and which I had stolen) in my room and taught me how to play “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian and I felt better, and she tried to teach me how to make pie crust when I was twelve and I just love her.
And my sister Kristen was born when I was three and I remember distinctly tiptoeing out to the landing that morning, the light coming through the living room windows, and my grandma, who had spent the night with me, just hanging up the phone, because she was born at nine in the morning, and she dedicated years of her life to gymnastics and track and volleyball and swimming, and she sings like an angel and plays beautiful piano, and she reads even though I tried to teach her before she was ready, and she makes the best cookies, and when we were little her laugh was contagious and I just love her.
And my sister Anna swims like a brilliant fish and does math and science with her hands tied behind her back, and when she was little she collected roly-polies and put them in plastic cups in the backyard, and she is tall and long and thin and likes Doctor Who, and in elementary school when Kristen would go to gymnastics, she and I would stay home by ourselves after school and I would make her mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner and watch Richard Scarry and Veggie Tales with her, and she has a sense of humor like nobody’s business and makes the greatest faces and I just love her.
And I love Derek, and Hannah, and Photina, and Ronja, and Helena, for many different reasons but mostly for talks about everything in the universe and for love.
And I don’t love Sam, as we have had out before, but I do sort of adore him, for reasons of talking and kissing and laughter and language and wandering.
I am thinking of this because Kristen’s prom is this evening, and I am so happy for her, and because of an adorable picture of her standing like a princess on the stairs with my dad cocking his shotgun behind her, I started thinking about how delightful my people are.