Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Family Ties

You all know the saying “You can choose your friends and you can choose your enemies, but you can't choose family!" Like Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.”

Relationships are difficult regardless of relativity but history adds even more interesting twists. However, there are also opportunities for personal growth. Knowing where you’ve come from, the hereditary traits you’ve inherited can either push you to change or embrace the traits of your choosing.

Where is this esoteric rambling leading? On Saturday, after an emotionally draining day, we accepted an invitation to share a meal with my husband’s aunt and some first cousins. Slightly reluctant to experience an awkward gathering, we found out what they were serving, inquired about what we could contribute and then plucked a bottle of Conquista Malbec 2005, a product of the Mendoza, the wine capital of Argentina, out of the cellar.

As one of the “in-laws” or outlaws, as I like to call myself, I was able to watch their family dynamics with some objectivity.

It was just what the doctor ordered as we blended effortlessly into their evening. We were enveloped into the flow of conversation, meal preparation and mini dramas. (Those are a given at any family get together, right?)

Sharing wine, telling stories, making toasts to loved ones we’ve lost, and making new memories reminded me how much family means, no matter how dysfunctional.

After all, what is normal? Is there anybody out there who fits that description?

The Europeans have the right idea; they make family and mealtime an important part of their day. Open a bottle with family or friends tonight, share a meal and some stories.