Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | December 27, 2005

Angry Happy Love

How do you know you are loved?

You can raise your voice and storm out into the bitter cold and have him kissing your forehead twenty minutes later. I burrowed my head in the crease between his shoulder and neck as his arms threaded through mine.

ďIím sorry I reacted the way I did. Now come back in here and share a glass of eggnog. Itís soy.Ē

The worded emotions were spinning around my head in scratched record form to fast for me to make a sentence out of them. ďThis very well could be the psychological form of cancer,Ē I told him as he gave my shoulders another tight squeeze.

We grew up as Globetrotting Nomadís. Resenting time because itís a working holiday the boss man imposes. Growing up as a child of the 80ís my family fit together like a mismatched pair of Chuck Converse sneakers. The five of us kids are different and exactly alike in many ways. Only now, they are my best friends. At ten years old I would question, after being banished to my room for the evening, why I had been sent to THIS family. A mother who is trying to keep up with the Jonesís, the fantasized Norman Rockwell painted family. A father who worked his humor around the office to counter balance stress sixty hours a week. Like father like daughter. Houston we have a problem. I wanted to be just like him, Iím exactly like him.

Family members tend to have a good fight every third year or 17th family gathering. The issues have compartmentalized in the teenage strife you long to forget and wrinkled clothes that wonít iron out. We fight serving hurt feelings for dinner and makeup hugs as a night cap. Itís those small complicated moments, absorbing moments, that make your personal alarm clock go off and you realize the hard times make you feel alive and grow. I think thatís real. Ridiculously real. Families who state they never fight are missing out on Maury Povich moments where itís appropriate to break down and you hear wise words from siblings and parents. Letís face it, if you canít tell those that love you and vice versa what you really think then your love may be as ill contrived as a Seattle tan.

Families are music, dancing, misunderstood phrases, kissing, raised voices, laughing, La Vie Bohem playing and leaning close as ďHey mister, sheís my sisterĒ booms from the speakers, singing in church, fondue, fireplaces, joking, tears, inside jokes, real empathy, and love Ė thereís always plenty of that.

I drove home Monday in 70 degree weather with the windows down and the sunroof open allowing humidity of welcome home sentiment to embrace my skin. Houstonís skyline loomed in the distance, the Enron building mirroring the city in steel reflection and the electric blue lights of the Ferris wheel cajoling.

The moment it hits is unstoppable. My chest tightened, I swallowed hard nearly choking on my tongue squeezing my eyes to fight back a tear. I was already missing them.


  1. It is rough to make your home so far away from your family.

    Luckily, I now live close to mine (within two hours of driving), but that was not always the case. Lubbock was a long way from CA.

    The family is only as far away as the heart.

  2. It’s things like this that make me think about moving home again. Back North. But, of course, “home” isn’t there anymore. Home is just where I happen to land this year. I don’t know where I’ll be next year.

    I love my family, in the right dosage.
    I blame these feelings of displacement on holiday season hangover.

    All of which is meant to say, “Yeah, me, too.”

  3. every three or seventeen? hmmm…we must have been doing it wrong.

    and i agree. people who are in families where conflict is rare, if ever, lack a certain depth. lukewarm may not scald, but it doesn’t embrace.

  4. Those feelings are why I’m so glad I live by my family and so glad I don’t live WITH my family. Spending a lot of time together makes for conflict, but it also makes for a lot of laughter, sometimes both at the same time.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time…

  5. Nicely said.

  6. Oooh, wait, I forgot… Welcome Home!

  7. Maury Povich moments?
    My family never has those. *cough, cough*

    Happy to hear you had fun with your family!

  8. so good to hear that in our familial insanity we are all sane.

  9. i grew up WISHING i had a family like that…you’re a very lucky girl!!

  10. Sass, I enjoyed your post about family. It really makes you think how fortunate you can be.. I also enjoyed your pictures on your flicker page.. ūüôā
    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!!

    Hook Em’ Horns!


  11. I definitely know that feeling. They miss you too.

  12. Welcome home Jess. Did you bring me home a cheese steak and pretzel as promised?

    Looking fwd to catching up with you.

  13. So beautifully written! I’m the oldest of 5 kids..while some of us have grown closer…the others have grown further apart.

    Wish we had what you had.

  14. Sass, well written and said. Bravo.

  15. You’ve been added! Thanks! And how the hell did I miss your super slick blog this whole time? Nice work!

  16. Some of the many reasons I am trying to move back to Albuquerque. I have been gone too long.

    “then your love may be as ill contrived as a Seattle tan”

    Freakin’ genius! HA!


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