Monday, June 27, 2005

A Shiny New Penny

I've just returned from ten glorious days in Indiana, hanging out with my siblings and their kids. With nothing but time on my hands, I figured I could use a vacation. I stayed with my sister Diana, who is hands-down my favorite person in the entire world. My teenage nephew Mike and his sister, Christina, are living at home, along with Christina's ten-month-old Jackson, a roly-poly Cheerio eating machine with a grin that lights up a room. We stayed up much too late every night talking and laughing, but it was well worth the lack of sleep.

I visited my sister Sandra and her seven gorgeous children, ranging from a shaggy 15-year-old to a round-headed nine-month old, my godson Christopher. His brothers and sisters call him Jack-Jack because of his uncanny resemblance to the baby from The Incredibles, pointy hair and all. Sandy became really religiously observant about ten years ago and we've struggled with our relationship because of it. It's sort of strange, then, that of all the people I talked with about my life while I was home, she understood the most and gave me what I thought was the sagest advice. Maybe there's something to this religion thing after all.

My visit with her marked the first time in a long time that somebody really cried when I left - not just wet eyes, but out-and-out weeping. Sophia, all dark hair, big eyes, and bossy ways, is Sandra's youngest daughter. She is the three-year-old mistress of the house and decided there was no reason I should ever leave her side. When informed that I did indeed have to go away, she burst into tears, throwing herself face first onto the sofa like a broken-hearted teenager. Which of course made me cry, which then made seven-year-old Anna cry, and we were all damp and sad when their dad Chris came home from work, shouting and grumpy. It lightened the mood considerably when I told the girls, "Your dad is home and he'll give you something to cry about!" From their snuffling laughter, I got the feeling they had heard that line before.

I left them to visit my brother Alex, his wife Mary, and their daughter Isabel. They treated me to pizza and a streaking exhibition by Isabel who decided she wanted to go swimming but couldn't find her swimsuit (a perfectly reasonable explanation for nudity for a four-year-old).

While seeing all of them patched up some of the brokeness I felt when I left Los Angeles, coming home fixed even more. I'll have some news on that later this week...stay tuned.

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