Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We Are Family

So M's baby sister, Laura, got married on Saturday. I cried most of the night. And most of Sunday, too. Oh, and during the toasts at the rehearsal dinner on Friday. Because she is a beautiful girl who deserves to be happy.

Have I ever mentioned that I cry a lot?

And there I was all weekend without my waterproof mascara! Luckily, I did remember to grab some Kleenex for the ceremony. And even luckier-- I remembered to pull it out of my bra just before I walked down the aisle in my periwinkle dress (I hear that groping yourself in church is frowned upon).

M's family is great. And huge. All the Italians from his dad's side were there, dancing the tarantella and bellowing "Salute!" after every toast. They're loud, vibrant people who would do anything for "the family," so long as you don't ask Mario what he does for a living.

Mom's side is... warm. That's the best word I can use to describe them. She and her sisters are close in a way that is rare and beautiful, despite many childhood hardships. Their mother is a doting grandmother who holds my face in her hands and calls me "My Liz".

I'm closer to all of them than I am to my own relatives.

However, things haven't always been great. These people I love have struggled. Hurt and heartbreak fell upon those who didn't deserve it. Cruelty was sometimes more convenient than kindness. Serious problems resulted, and some of them were life-threatening.

And that's all I can really say about it, because those stories aren't mine to share. And anyhow, how could I ever neatly sum up the history of a family that has been decades in the making?

For my husband and I, this weekend was the culmination and celebration of years of healing and growth. At the end of the night we joined the crowd on the dance floor for a serious boogie to We Are Family.

This is the thing about M's family. They've been through shit, but they've gotten past it. They've let go of it. People who might have hated and despised each other were dancing and embracing. "We put the fun in dysfunctional," M's family likes to joke. But at least it's out there. It's out there for everyone to see.

I turned to my right and waved my arms around with M's Italian dad and his Irish wife. I spun to the left and laughed out loud with M and his brother. There was Mom with her fiance. There was Laura with her new husband and his entire family. The aunts and uncles. The cousins-- first, second, and twice-removed. The family friends from New York. It was so crowded, there was no room for grudges.

We are family.

And I welled up one last time, while Aunt Barbara and Uncle Marco shouted across the dance floor, "GET THE MOP!"

God, I love them.



Blogger Bearette24 said...

it's great that you are so close to your in-laws. and probably rare ;)

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

liz, you are such a great story teller. your wry enthusiasm for life jumps off the page.

ps my blog is screwed up. (is yours?) i can't access my password, so i've had to make up another blog, which is not really operational. (ouch)


11:22 PM  
Blogger Roxanne said...

Makes me want to come to the next family gathering. I raise my glass in a toast....Salute!

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sounds better than my own wedding!

9:42 AM  
Blogger His suzy said...

I cry a lot too. Your dang post nearly made me cry! One of those things I inherited from my mom.

Sounds like such a great family to be a part of. :)

9:43 AM  
Blogger Rude Cactus said...

When I was "home" for my grandfather's funeral earlier this month, I was reminded of the same thing. Family's just pretty darn cool.

3:06 PM  
Blogger Frema said...

Sounds like a great time. Weddings are perfect for bringing family members together.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

It sounds like a great time!

I love big noisy families.

12:20 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Oh, I forgot to mention how M's youngest cousin did a breakdancing demonstration for everyone. It was great.

2:13 PM  

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