Saturday, April 28, 2007

there's nothing to cry about, 'cause we'll hold each other soon

I hope you'll forgive me if I post something intensely personal. It doesn't matter to those who don't know me, and I would tell this to those who do know me, but they wouldn't know to ask. I just don't want to lose these thoughts.

This was a weekend of change, and I want to cry for the sadness and the happiness of it all, and here I am with my sunburnt cheeks and my half pink forehead. Stupid bangs.

Yesterday, my brother got married. I didn't really feel it until he and his new bride walked out of the temple together. They paused in the doorway as everybody cheered, he said, "We'll be right back", and they stepped back into the temple. We watched through the glass as they embraced and exchanged a few words before coming back out, where he dipped her and kissed her in a classic style. I don't know what they said in that moment. I saw the entirety of my brother there in the surface of his eyes when we met. To quote a mutual friend, "I've never seen him so happy."

Everybody kept saying, "You're next, you know." And, by process of elimination, yes, I am. I'm the only one left. How many times between 8th grade and death are we supposed to think, "Things will never be the same"?

My oldest sister was there. We'll call her by her middle name - Elizabeth. She and I have a funny relationship, me being the youngest and she having moved out of the house by the time I was five years old. She was always the wayward child of the family. She's never been very active, and when my parents refused to pay for her wedding because it was with a nonmember, a pattern of distance commenced. My other two sisters pulled me aside that day and, crying, made me promise them that I'd marry in the temple. There are a lot of dark things in Elizabeth's history that I just learned about this past summer. And I was introduced to this thought for the first time - that somebody in the world thinks my family is dysfunctional.

It's a ridiculous notion - my father was never a really warm dad to us, but he was strong and good. I just learned, though, that Elizabeth thinks that her issues with men and rebellion and faith are rooted in shoddy parenting, particularly an emotionally neglectful father.

There's something in the blood on my father's side - I'm pretty sure it's fire, or at least hot magma. The depression and the intensity in my family comes from that line, but so does something brilliant. The entire clan is a testimony that creativity and an artistic bent are congenital defects. But as "dysfunctional" as they are, each generation has been picking up the pieces of the last one and healing them. It's come down to my generation, and here are my cousins and my siblings and me, the watered-down heirs of a torrid bloodline. My father picked up his mother's pieces.

Elizabeth sells make-up - it's something like Mary Kay and the Avon lady. She only came to the wedding (she hadn't planned on it) because it was on her way back home from a sales conference. She went on and on about it, about how motivating and inspiring it was. She's found a new religion for herself. It's somewhere between cosmetics and nutrition and exercise. She's slimmed down quite a lot lately, and she's feeling terrific. She has a strong testimony of self-esteem. Health is her higher cause.

It makes me want to cry.

I just found out today (a day which I spent, joy of all joys, with my brother and sister and their spouses and our cousins and all of their children, blowing bubbles and sidewalk chalking and water hosing and generally mulling over the cosmos) that my father called Elizabeth this month and had a talk with her. He's a changing man. He told her he loved her, he apologized for all the things he never was as a father. He cried. This is not like my father.

My oldest brother said, "I think it scared Elizabeth. She's not comfortable when we say, 'We love you and accept you'. That's why she got the tattoo* right afterwards - to try to make us angry and keep that distance." (*her second, this one being her husband's original Korean name on the small of her back, visible as soon as she bends her slim self over)

Sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to take care of her.

Graduation, weddings, moving out, leaving Provo. Two of my dearest college friends are going to marry each other. My sister went to get an ultrasound at the mall today and found out that she's having her second boy. And here I am, sunburnt and sobbing.

4 reason(s) to click here:

ashley said...

i love you.

Optimistic. said...

I've read this over and over, trying to think of something to say that wouldn't be repeating ashley, but I can't think of anything else.

So I won't think of anything else. I love you, too.

Eliza said...

(please don't associate my marks with your sister's)

If you ever want to talk about family "dysfunction," I'm pretty much an expert. In fact I'm shocked we have not had this conversation before.

I love you, too, to quote the above two. That's pretty much my message here in a nutshell. :)

Kismet Keeper said...

I'm ok. It's part of life, you know? I think mostly I feel....thoughtful about it.

I would be grateful for any prayers, though. =) Thanks for thinking of me.