You know how sometimes you look around at your tribe and wonder, “Who the hell are these people and how can I possibly be related to them?” I’m happy to report that, as most of us gathered for Easter Sunday dinner at my mom’s, the thought never once entered my head. It’s not that I’m above that kind of thinking; God knows I’ve done my share in the past.
But something has shifted. The prism I’m looking through is softer, kinder, gentler. Cynical me is being supplanted by someone choosing a different way of looking at things. Maybe it has to do with remembering that I chose kindness as my ?one perfect word.? Readers may recall that in the New Year I chose to follow Debbie Macomber’s lead in choosing one word, one concept to focus on for an entire year. Initially, my motives may have been suspect. I thought it would help with self-kindness. Treating myself at least as well as I treat others would be a step in the right direction. Who among us hasn’t endured those continuous play, destructive internal, self-talk tapes?
Anyway, That’s one theory.
On Sunday I recognized that the matriarchs (mother and favourite aunt) of the family are feisty, old broads who are healthy, involved, and generous. My sisters and I are capable, caring people who married solid, salt of the earth guys. Together we had seven offspring. While each of those young adults chose a different path they are all, in their own right, successes. With the exception of one, they are all homeowners. I heard about job promotions and raises and improved working conditions. Most of them have traveled far, far further than their parents. Only three are married, though one is engaged and the other is common law. They appear to have chosen well. Their partners have added depth to the family. The married ones have five kids between them. Those grandkids are leading balanced lives of opportunity and privilege. they’re smart, well behaved, healthy.
Some of these very people have ticked me off in the past. Or like me, done something dumb or unkind that lives on in family lore. But, in the end it doesn’t matter. As a group, we’ve been blessed. No serious health issues. No birth defects. No life-shattering addictions. No jail time or chronic unemployment. Just one divorce. Enough money to do what needs to be done. Plus extras. A retirement plan and hopefully the good health to enjoy it.
As we talked Trump, politics, and the Oilers; admired grandkids; shared a meal; compared ailments; I enjoyed these people and our time together. A sister and brother-in-law did the 23andme DNA test and shared some of the reports. I’m intrigued and want to spit in a vial too. It might also mesh nicely with my kindness focus. It might explain a few things. Then again, imagine what it could reveal about me and my place in the tribe, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.