Day 14: Describe the Last Moment You Felt Really, Truly Blissful
My family is dysfunctional. I mean, don’t get me wrong – we’re definitely more Osborne-dysfunctional than Jackson-dysfunctional; but still, like most families, we have our share of bickering and fussing and picking and testing and sometimes hollering at one another. It takes us twelve hours to complete a road trip that would take most families six. My dad has to stop every ten miles to go to the bathroom, because he apparently has a bladder the size of a lentil. My mom shrieks at my dad from the passenger’s seat about driving too fast. My nieces slug it out in the backseat over whose turn it is to play with the iPad, and my sister and brother-in-law annoyingly smooch and stare deep into one another’s eyes in the middle seat, squishing me into the far corner of my parents’ van and forcing me into an unwilling front row seat to their weird road trip mating rituals.
By the time we get where we’re going, we are all tired, cranky, frustrated, and ready to streak out of the van with the speed of the roadrunner just to get away from each other.
This past weekend we drove about an hour and a half away to a pumpkin patch/corn maze for my niece’s birthday, and we all assumed our usual road trip positions. And as I sat there squished into my corner of the van listening to my nieces bicker and my mom yell at my dad to slow down and my dad complain about having to go to the bathroom…I wanted to find a way to hit the “Pause” button on life and just remain in that moment as long as I could. It suddenly struck me that the messiness and the craziness and the lovable dysfunction of it all is…well, beautiful. It’s life. It’s living. It’s the comfortable familiarity of relationships bound by blood and love and fierce loyalty and knowing one another better than we know ourselves. It’s the knowledge that no matter how much I might screw up, or how flawed I might be, or how much I annoy them…these people aren’t going anywhere. They’re my family. As I get older I really appreciate the significance of that. Not all families stick together. Not all families overcome their differences and set aside their pride and forgive one another for grievances…but mine does. Which is why, in that moment, surrounded by the imperfection of my little family, I felt perfectly blissful. And overwhelmingly grateful.
The moment did eventually pass…the annoyance of someone passing gas without claiming it returned…jabbing my sister sharply in the ribs for hogging the seat might have happened…and chaos, as always, ensued…but the love and laughter and silliness and gratitude and beauty and wonder, I took with me. They might be loud, they might be a little crazy, they might be flawed, and they might drive me insane on a regular basis…but they’re mine. They’re my people. And I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.
“What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole; they were the ones who showed up and who stayed there, regardless.” ~Sarah Dessen
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