It's been over a week since my last post. A trip east of the mountains, a family get-together, a run-in with the flu and a date with an MRI machine kept me busy. The first two are reasonable excuses, the last a bit more difficult to swallow. I know. I remember when my mother was in the early/middle stages of dementia. It was my habit to call her each day, but some days she'd tell me she couldn't talk to me the next morning because she had a dentist appointment. Her appointment might not be until 3 PM, but somehow that one appointment threw her off so much she couldn't talk to me for ten minutes at 10:30 in the morning.
And so my MRI appointment must sound to some of you: one appointment and you can't squeeze in time for anything else the whole live-long day? On paper it sounds that way to me. However, it actually did impact the whole of yesterday. The minuscule hole in which a body must fit in the donut-shaped MRI machine means that my not-small nose is only about an inch from the 'ceiling.' The MRIs I've had in the last month aren't my first jogs around the MRI block, and it used to be that I was adept at simply closing my eyes tightly, forgetting where I was and praying the hour+ away. However, a few years ago, I fell asleep (no easy task in the rattling, pounding of the machine!), woke up and naturally opened my eyes. And FREAKED OUT!!! Had the closest thing to an anxiety attack I've ever had. They had to get me out of there FAST, abort the test, and...
ever since then, I've been given some pretty mean drugs so I can survive the ordeal.
But such drugs mean that afterwards I lose the rest of the day.
Wow, that was a ridiculously long explanation of a day of which I have practically no memory.
But it was a good weekend with the extended family. We've made Presidents' weekend our time to gather. It's good for the farmers who have less to do (though there's always something--those cattle don't feed themselves during the barren winter, you know!). We were fewer in number this year. We didn't even ask one section of our family because we knew they'd be busy--and sure enough, their first-born son (and grandson) was born last Wednesday (how the time flies--, little JH is a whole week old now!!!). But the few of us there did what we always do--laughed, ate, played games and ate some more. My family, like most families, is made up of many kinds of people with many ways of being. We're conservative and liberal, republican and democrat, protestant and catholic. There are those who love coming to the country but couldn't live there, and those who can only handle the city for a day or two before they hunger for the large expanse of their rural lives. We're genetically linked, and married in, we're old and set in our ways and young and learning faster than the speed of light (and captivated by lights themselves). We're so different that there's no possible way in the natural course of our real lives that we'd find ourselves in the same place at the same time. Even know each other.
Except for this: we are family. We want to make it work. As much as we are different, we're the same. It's the knowing that does it, for one thing. The four young women among us--my daughters and their cousins--are in it for life. They might as well have each other's names tattooed across their chests, for how deep their commitment is. And my nephew feels the same about my son (who wasn't there). I watch them lean in toward each other, listen to how they value each other, and realize that this is what community really looks like, of course. It isn't about being the same, about having every opinion in common, it's about caring more about the other than about those opinions. It's about knowing that those differences, as deep and important as they are, aren't the bottom line. The bottom line is the commitment they have for each other--for the whole community. It's breaking bread together, and saying, "You aren't me, and I can't be you. But I'm glad for who you are. I'm glad you were made and that you're in my life."
That's what I see in these young adult women. They humble me with their love. And I'm glad they're in my life.