We cannot destroy kindred: our chains stretch a little sometimes, but they never break. ~Marquise de Sévigné
My fabulous niece, my parents first officially recognized grandchild, turned 20 last week. Yesterday, the entire family gathered in my younger sisters backyard for a pizza party.
We had a nice time. My family is very funny. Very laid back, very real. My sister and my brother in law are fantastic hosts and always provide the right amount of food, drink, entertainment. My brother showed up with his brood. We don’t see them often so it was very nice. I took lots of pictures that I have yet to upload.
My sons played on the large inflatable pool and water slide. My 17 yo niece (same name as my daughter) and I compared phones and were teased about our mutual Internet addictions. My 14 yo nephew/godson has surpassed my brother in height. Nephew is only 14 and will soon be close six feet two inches tall. His voice is changing and it alternately sounds like a duck or a man. We tease him. He takes it well.
My older sister and I compared our jiggly biceps (affectionately called my "bat wings" by my sons or "pizza hangers" by my other sister). My thirteen year old nephew Michael talked football all day and told me no less than 10 times that he was the captain of the football team. His fraternal twin sister, Darcie, told me about five times that she was going to be a cheerleader again this year.
My mother wandered the crowd and would often stop, stare and take in all the wonder of her offspring and their offspring. She loves these types of events. I wonder if she felt anyone missing?
Before the day ended, my mother made everyone line up for family pictures. First pictures of my sister and her five children. Then pictures of my other sister and her three, then my brother and his two, and me and my three minus one.
Yes, three minus one. Do the math.
Physically present or not, acknowledged or not, my daughter is in every picture and at every family function.
That overwhelming palpable feeling of someone missing? That’s her.
That feeling that causes me to frantically scan crowds to make sure my sons are in sight? That’s the absence of my daughter working through me. A child is missing but it is not my sons.
My confused and lost facial expression in pictures? That is what a mother looks like when she is missing her child at a family function.
That deep wrinkle above the right side of my upper lip? That’s where the tears that usually fall from my eyes tend to rest. My skin has been eroded by twenty something years of salty tears.
I both love and hate these family functions.
Happy Birthday to Nicole.