Teething crying last night. Rainy morning.
Over-easy eggs. Hot ham. Coffee. Cream.
The therapeutic value of my mom’s parents is very very high. As high as Amazonian ayahuasca retreat, maybe higher. I haven’t taken ayahuasca, I’m just saying.
Grandma says open the door to anyone who loves Ellie.
Kate said Ryan is really protective—especially with older women holding the baby.
Grandma says I knew he would be, with his mom dying like that.
Grandma says but Ryan they love the baby.
I say Grandma it’s not my mom, my family.
Grandma say they are you’re family.
The logic is straightforward and mundane duh jesus.
So the compelling thing isn’t the logic, it’s the therapeutic value of grandma in a pink robe at breakfast with coffee.
She asked Kate if she wanted butter on her bagel. Kate said yes. It’s simple things. Simple things like Grandma said she had a hard time with her mother-in-law in the beginning, but then she realized that the mother-in-law was for Grandpa and that Grandma was in favor of anyone rooting for her husband. Again. straightforward logic.
I keep saying yeah Grandma but it’s different when it’s not your family. To pull away, to hold back, I say. And she says yeah but Ryan they just want to love the baby too. It’s a good thing, Ryan. You should feel lucky. Not everyone has that.
Grandpa and I sat at the table last night and talked about alcoholism and after the war all the GI’s would socialize over hard liquor and how tolerance built up and how one glass of scotch led to two and then three and soon Grandpa said he noticed this exercised something he said he’s big on: control. Mmmm. I had just told him I was a multi-year alcoholic. I asked him if he thought it was genetic.
Grandma said scoliosis is genetic. My aunt said this thing in our blood that maybe contributed to my mom’s heart attack called Factor 5 is genetic. I don’t know. I’ll check.
Over the fire place there’s an imitation antique sign that says: SEMPRE FAMILIA.
Pictures of grandchildren and great grandchildren in frames on every horizontal surface. Not a trace of dust.
It would be cerebral fluid comforting wouldn’t it? To sit across from the two people who created my mom. I’m very glad we drove the 600 miles. It’s invisible. The thing I’m talking about. The impact of family. Maybe it’s history and memories. Maybe it’s mutual love and affection. Maybe it’s ancient tribal recognition of genetic similarity. I don’t know. But I feel it. Connected. Net. Webbing. Acceptance. Sponge. Absorb.
Last night before we devoured a platter of chicken and sweet potatoes and carrots I said well thanks for having us. Grandma said oh stop you’re my grandson you’re welcome anytime. I said it again to Grandpa and he said if I didn’t want you here you’d be on the street.
One conclusion that’s seeping out is something like this. Maybe I’ve falsely conceptualized myself as an individual. I say falsely because next to my Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt and Kate and little EllieRoo, there’s all these generations, and tonight I’ll see my cousin and her children and my other cousin and his girlfriend, and we’re all connected through memories and shared family bonds and they know and knew my mom and my dad and my sisters just like I did and in many ways more or at least different than me and it becomes overwhelming like a churning wave roaring into the sand that the i-me-my is so very little and so very unrepresentative of the whole.
Maybe my i-me-my delusion has been the hot hair I’ve puffed into the hyper protective EllieRoo balloon.
I’m just very grateful. That Kate came. That I came. It’s been quite a long time, a very fucking long time, since I’ve felt at home anywhere. What a feeling, really.