The family, that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape

I have a love/hate relationship with the holidays. I love the city decked out in Christmas lights, Thanksgiving leftovers, and I love presents. I hate elves, mall traffic, and snow. It’s the time of year for merriment, counting your blessings, and suffering from a mild stress-related psychotic breakdown. It’s also the time of year everybody has to hang out with their family.

I feel like now that I am in my twenties and past all of the rebellious acts of stupidity I performed as a teenager, I have learned to appreciate my family again. I have come full cycle, from worshipping and needing them as a toddler, to despising and fearing them as any typical fifteen year old girl, to respecting and loving them as a young adult. 

My family is the one constant in life. They are my rock, the helium in my balloon that hoists me up despite myself. They are also the source of perpetual embarrassment, humor, and annoyance. I know that my family is one well that will never run dry, even if I do pray for drought sometimes. 

My mother is the most giving and silly person I have ever met in my life. She is dreamy, idealistic, caring, and lion-hearted when need-be. My parents used to own a house in a private, gaited community in the Pocanos where it was illegal to feed wildlife. During the winter months, my mother would sneak out at night dressed in all black, carrying a bucket of grain and a salt-lick for the deer. She took me out with her once, commanding me to duck every time a pair of headlights glided down the road. Ninja-like, we darted behind tree trunks and parked cars, our ski masks protecting our identity from the neighbors. My mother had three different herds of deer pass through her lawn twice a day that she fed. And she never did get caught.

My father is the typical linear thinking engineer. He is the practical voice of reason in my life. He is good with maps and directions. I can literally call him up from anywhere in the tri-state area and he can help navigate me home without the guidance of a map. We are Irish, and he used to sing me to sleep with Irish drinking songs instead of lullabies. Six years ago, during a dark time in my life while I was in college, my father gave me a piece of advice. He told me to “bloom where I was planted,” to make the best of my situation and spread beauty regardless of where I was. I have made that saying my personal creed and try to live by it everyday of my life.

My siblings are both my blessing and my curse. My sisters are my biggest fans, my personal on-call therapists, and my fashion gurus. My little brother used to serve as my punching-bag in our formative years, but now he has a good five inches and sixty pounds on me. He is a man of few words, but what he does have to say is often insightful. 

These are the people that have seen me at both my best and worst and have loved me through it all. They know my entire story, the peaks and the valleys, and have been my anchor in the most turbulent of storms.


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