Sunday, February 19, 2012

living in the diaspora

I try not to get caught up in the gross obsession when celebrities die.   TMZ & the sort get a little ill with their news reports.  For example, they posted exclusive photos of the roomservice food & chicken sandwich that Whitney Houston ordered but never got around to eating.   People are sick. 

But from all the weirdo coverage I did gather that Whitney Houston had family members with her on the weekend she died.   Her daughter was staying in the hotel with her and apparently just before she passed, Whitney's aunt had come in and laid out her dress for the grammy party the next day.  Her cousin, Dionne Warwick had talked to her on the phone earlier.  And that really touched me. 

I applaud the independence in my family & extended family, but inside, I do wish I belonged to something like that.  I can't imagine having close relationships like that with family.   I can't imagine a cousin calling me on a regular basis.  Or an aunt helping me get ready for a party.  I can't imagine traveling with people who have known me all my life.  I can't imagine having those people fully ingrained in the fabric of my life.  And, if we can, suspend disbelief for a minute and imagine these people don't drive you crazy.  You enjoy their company.  They are your best friends.

Growing up, my best friend had a big family.  There were four kids in a small house, and that house was always open with even more visitors stopping by.  We never rode in cars with less than 2 people.  Every day felt a little like a party.  Yes there was chaos.  And yes it was always a little bit of a mess, but it was good and I always felt like I belonged.

These days we're very solitary.   Sometimes I want to blame the internet.   Sometimes I blame it on white people.  But I realize I did this to myself by leaving home at 18 & never moving back.  There are people who see me every day - Who I can go to for advice.  But of those people, the one who's known me longest has only known me for seven years.  It's different.

I would love to be able to stop by to see my mom or dad after work on a Tuesday.   And then leave just before dinner is ready.  I'd love to be able to drop off my dog for a day so that she could lay in the grass in their yard.   I'd love to have a weekly standing routine.  i.e. on Sunday everyone goes over to uncle Pete's for lunch & card games or something.  Like in the book Middlesex.  You stand in the kitchen & dry dishes with your sister in law.  You pick up your conversation where you left off last week.  You know how they feel about things.

I think of the family I'll start some day.   Zach suggested having just one kid in our house.  But I don't think I could do that to a child.  Especially since we still live far away from the rest of our family.  I've seen the contrast of living in a pack vs. being alone, and I feel the difference. 

If I could change one thing about my life I'd be sure I belonged to a community of some sort again.   I think I need it badly but I don't know how to get there.

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