Sometimes it is nice to wrap yourself in the comfort of home. In this case, my original home. The one where my parents still live and are raising my four youngest siblings.
Now, that is not to say that I would want to live there again.
No, I like my own home just fine. And I’m always happy to get back there again after being away. There is a certain security in pacing the floor of one’s own space; in flopping on one’s own sofa. I like the routine of my home, my things, my family.
But I digress.
There are things that can only be found in my parents’ home.
Like the sound of my father’s voice reading. There is something poignant and intrinsic in that sound that always takes me back to many, many moments stacked up in my bank of childhood memories. There is something vastly satisfying in the sight of my children receiving the same privilege I reveled in countless times as a girl-- I can’t even remember the beginning of these memories.
There is a depth of cheerfulness and pleasant creature comforts in my mother’s décor that embraces me and seems to succor the part of me that misses my first family when I haven’t been home in a while. I aim to duplicate that in my home for my own children. I have a long way to go.
Food’s not the only thing that goes on in there. I always say that life happens in the kitchen and my parents’ home is an example on that. Haircuts, games, talk, and school. The kitchen is the place to be.
Here we are, our whole family, gathered around the table. It’s noisy with laughter and jolly conversation. The abundance of food entices us to overeat, the tempting scents of the well-prepared recipes urges us on to eat much more than we ought.
And on this occasion there was a newcomer; a young man only lately immersed in the tides of this boisterous bunch. My sister’s boyfriend, Paolo. I don’t want to embarrass anyone involved but I have to say that there is something touching in those first “meet the family” moments. Maybe it’s the deer in the headlights look when my father jovially asks the young man about his intentions; the nervous laugh that comes when he realizes that my dad is giving him a bad time. And yet if you watch closely a look passes from father to the young man that says, Tread carefully, you are on sacred ground. And there is an almost imperceptible nod from the young man as he accepts the responsibility and the terms of the unspoken agreement.
Or maybe mom’s gravy has just gone to my head.
And it get’s better. We all bombard the poor guy with questions about his life, his family, his upbringing. Not so much because we want to interrogate him but because we have a natural curiosity about this person who is spending so much time with our girl, Dee.
And we find that we like him. He is easy going and fills his spot at the table just fine. There are just two requirements that we set out for any young man my sister brings home… We figure that we’ll leave all the moral testing, character searching, important stuff like that to Dee. We offer only our prayers and just a wee, very occasional, rare, teeny-tiny opinion now and then in that department.
No, we only ask two things to give you a seat at our table.
1.) You must laugh.
2.) You must eat.
Paolo did both.
Or maybe the beginning?
Then there are my siblings.
They certainly keep things interesting.
Their talents range from interesting…
It’s a circus around here.
A family circus.
And a good circus always has willing spectators.
My turkey’s wrap themselves in the excitement of it all. They loose themselves in the action of the moment.
“Hey there, buddy! You get back here with that saw! This might be a circus but there will be no sawing people in half! You are no magician even if you can conjure up very interesting tales about why you are running around with sharp objects!”
That’s the beauty of love, I guess.
Where My Heart Is in NE