Family Ties

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In honor of Thanksgiving, I am writing about my family and my gratitude for each and every one of them. Family is forever and I am grateful I was blessed with the family I  have.

I am thankful for my three daughters. They have all contributed challenges and laughter to my life. They weren’t always easy to raise, but they’ve all grown into strong wonderful women who I am proud to call my daughters and friends.

I am thankful for Michelle. She is my firstborn and while she was born wanting and needing a mother far more conventional than the one she was born to, she has always managed to continue to love me and has even learned to tolerate my inability to plan. The days when she leaps out of her comfort zone are the days when I admire her most. Thank you.

I am thankful for Meagan. She is my second-born and is the child who is the most like her mother. Sometimes those similarities have caused problems and sometimes they’ve caused really good times and conversations. Thank you. (PS She is also the daughter who most enjoys seeing how many drinks her mother can consume. I’m hoping she outgrows that the same way she outgrew her allergy to dairy.)

I am thankful for Molly. She is my third-born daughter and gives definition to the word stubborn. I never worried about her caving to peer pressure when she was growing up. She has always had the courage of her convictions, which made it challenging and interesting to raise her. She’s also the daughter that is always there to help me with my technology, usually giggling through the entire project. Thank you.

I am thankful for my five grandchildren. Watching them grow and repeat behaviors I dealt with when I was raising their mothers is one of my greatest joys.

I am thankful for Joe. Michelle’s son Joe is 9 months old and the luckiest baby on earth. He was adopted by Michelle and Matt and there’s never been a baby more wanted or loved. I don’t know if it’s because of that or because of his inherent good nature, but I have never seen a happier baby in my life. Thank you, Michelle and Matt, for bringing him in my life.

I am thankful for Luca. Meagan’s son Luca is 2 and such a 2 year old. His Gigi (that would be me) taught him to head bump and fist bump, which his mother frequently thanks me for. He has been pedaling his feet since the day he was born and now that he’s mobile, he never walks if he can run. I love his enthusiasm and joy. Thank you, Meagan and Mike, for bringing him in my life.

I am thankful for Eli, Lily and Tyson. These are Molly’s three children. Her son Eli is 10 and was my first grandchild. He has always had a unique way of looking at the world that has opened my eyes and heart. He is the grandson I’ve been able to play in the creek with and explain the world of homeless people to. My only granddaughter is Lily who is 2. To say that Lily is a firecracker is a vast understatement. She was born having her own opinions and since that vaguely reminds me of her mother as a child, it tickles me to no end. And finally, there’s Tyson. Tyson is an observer. He takes his time and watches the world before he forms an opinion. He has an impish grin and a sparkle in his eyes. He will be an interesting child to watch grow up. Thank you, Molly and Todd, for bring them in my life.

I give thanks for the family I grew up in. What an eclectic, witty, intelligent group of individuals.

My brother, Kurt, is one of the best story-tellers I’ve ever known. He can draw you in and engage your interest in a few well-drawn sentences. As the older sibling closest to me in age, he took his jobs as both chief tormentor and primary protector seriously when we were growing up. As we’ve grown we’ve found that our sense of the ridiculous is painted in the same shades of irony. Thank you for being my brother.

My sister, Claire, loves to cook and nurture everyone who crosses her path. Unless you piss her off…then you better watch out. She was the female who showed me how to grow up and become a woman to be reckoned with. She taught me how to put on make-up and fixed me my first whiskey sour. Our friendship has strengthened as we’ve grown older and I cherish our time together. Thank you for being my sister.

I know I’m not the only one who was raised with more than the customary two parents. I can’t thank my parents without thanking the three who influenced me the most.

My biological father, Fred, was one of the most damaged but brilliant people I have ever known. He was fierce in his climb up the corporate ladder but he also took the time to draw with me and encourage me in every artistic endeavor I undertook growing up.  Thank you for doing your best.

My step-father, Dale, was the quintessential Horatio Alger story, He came to the city after growing up on the farm and with hard work and laser focus became not only wealthy, but successful in the things he felt important. Despite his gruff manner he still willingly took on the responsibility of marrying a woman with three children.  Thank you for taking us all on.

My mother, Lynda, raised us to know that her children and their friends could say almost anything in front of her as long as we said it with wit and intelligence. Her humor and intellectual curiosity gave us all permission to explore and investigate philosophies that were off the beaten path and outside the boundaries of the social norms of the day. Thanks for being my mother and my mom.

Since this was originally written last summer, my 82 year old mother, Lynda, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Mom is a teeny, tiny woman who weighs about 100 lbs dripping wet. She has fought various ailments the entire year of 2014, and is determined to fight this vicious bully Cancer. Trust me, if my mom gets angry, there is nothing that she can’t intimidate or overcome.

The encouraging thing I’d like everyone to take away from this is that Mom was diagnosed with Stage I cancer. This is extremely rare for her age group. Most women over the age of 70 neglect their mammograms and as a result aren’t usually diagnosed until they are already at Stage IV. So, not only am I thankful for my mother and her early diagnosis, I am grateful for mammograms.

Please help encourage the women in your life to continue to get their mammograms regardless of their age. Thank you for reading and passing the word.

2 thoughts on “Family Ties”

  1. I’m so glad it makes you smile to watch Lily give me trouble! That is the reason I tell you some of the Lily stories…just to warm your heart!

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