Monday, May 01, 2006

The Family Resemblance

My aunt Kathy is the oldest child of 10. She is one of five girls. She was the first in the family to move out of town and stay out of town. We went to visit her this weekend. "We" being my mom, my three other aunts, baby J.J. and me, Kathy's goddaughter.

Kathy is now sick and homebound. But that doesn't stop her from getting her hair done.

Her beautician came to her home and charged her $70 for a cut and color.

Kathy said, "I told her, '$70? Are you crazy? To come to my house? I don't think so.' I paid her 150."

That is Kathy.

We settled in on Friday to talk about blond hair and Lifetime Television. Kathy and my mom love them some Lifetime movies. As the oldest girls in the family, that is one of the few things they have in common.

Kathy worked as a flight attendant for 20-some years. She married late in life, and had two dogs, whom she adored. One was Molly a "basador"--you know the dogs with the labrador head and basset hound body. Molly would go shopping with Kathy and get McDonald's cheeseburgers at the drivethru for lunch. She passed away, and Kathy talks about her often. Maggie, a basset hound, now lives with Kathy and her husband in their condo. She and J.J. crawled around together this weekend, taking turns howling.

My mom married at age 23, had three children and worked part time as an occupational therapist. She now has seven grandchildren. If you're looking for my mom, you'll find her on the sunny side of the street, the bright side of life and somewhere over the rainbow. Which, when you think about it, are pretty good places to be.

Kathy sees things a little differently. She is the alternative weekly newspaper to my mom's church newsletter. They would both tell you that, growing up, Kathy was the rebel and my mom wasn't.

Kathy's friend came over while we were there (Kathy on the phone: "You know you're welcome. Don't give me that 'I'm not welcome' stuff. Whatever. Just come over.") The friend looked around the room and remarked how similar everyone looked.

But looks can be deceiving. I've never seen five more different people than that room full of sisters: a retired flight attendant, a school principal, a sales executive, a grandmother and a dog rehabilitator.

Until we were driving to the airport and saw a van that said, "7 Sistahs on Board. Sisters Weekend or Bust." And we brainstormed how we should react.

Mooning them and kicking their asses were among the suggestions.

Of course, we did neither. We have our reputations to uphold. But we laughed about it. That's what everyone has in common. We laugh a lot. We laugh at things that aren't funny--like Lifetime movies and the less bizarre real-life problems. We laugh at things that are funny. Like my mom and Kathy's stories about my mom and dad's first three dates (Kathy, who told the stories on her deck while wearing a pretty bathrobe and gold jewelry, going inside to smoke so as to avoid polluting the outside air for the baby, set them up.)

Kathy is funny. All the sisters are funny. So looking at everyone, Kathy's friend probably saw the half smile on everyone's faces that says, "If no one else is going to say something funny, I will. It's time to spice things up."

In every family, there's enough drama to make get-togethers spicier than a Thai-hot entree. Tears are going to flow. So you have to ask yourself, should they be sad tears or tears from laughing. Lifetime chooses the first option. We choose laughter.

Or maybe it chooses us.

4 Comments:

Anonymous mom said...

So true!!! It was a funny weekend! I woke up this morning and thought, "Where's JJ to make me laugh and coo!" He was so good and happy! What a cutie! You fit right in with all of our craziness and were a joy to have along!!!!

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

What a great weekend and a great recap Bridge. Love being with you all and lets make it an annual thing.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous mary said...

Had a great time with the
sisters! Glad you and JG came
Bridge. Great recap!

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad we were able to see you all, even if it was too short. JG is the best!

1:57 PM  

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