Monday, January 7, 2013

You Can Choose Your Family

I feel like I’ve been in a time warp.

This is my first day back to work since Christmas Eve, and it feels like a couple of months.

On my drive in this morning, I kept the phone down and radio off, sifting through the events of the last two weeks.

I retraced my activities and conversations, seeking any emotional epiphanies or breakthrough mom moments which might possibly inspire a blog.

I got nothin’.

And I realized, therein lays the beauty. 

This break was truly a break.  My two college kids had only 5 days off from basketball practice, as the season is in full swing. So other than some last-minute Christmas shopping, I stayed home, hung out with them, and didn’t “rush” anywhere.

The morning after Christmas our Phoenix friends, The Flynns, flew in and stayed through New Year’s. The house filled with perpetual conversation, laughter, lots of coffee and Diet Coke, and loads of meat.  Seriously. I think we made one salad the whole week.

Sure, my workouts suffered greatly. But for the first time in some three years, I allowed myself to prioritize people over my perpetual quest for thin thighs and steady estrogen levels.

We didn’t visit the museums we hoped to see or the new Clyde Warren Park or even the Chihuly exhibit at the Arboretum. But we did cheer on all three kids in their myriad basketball games, including a rare opportunity to watch my oldest son John play close to home. We also managed a girls-only, overnight trip to Norman to watch my daughter play at OU. 

One of the most memorable moments of the holiday break happened on the way to the airport to drop off our friends. We stopped at Babe’s Fried Chicken for a final New Year’s Eve meal. My husband laughingly initiated our “Talking Fork” tradition, in which we pass a decorated fork around the table and share what we’re thankful for. On this night we suggested sharing a favorite memory or thought from our week together.

There, around the oversized round table in the corner of the restaurant, Dennis declared:  “Family doesn’t have to be someone you’re born with. You can choose it. You are our family.”

Julie and Grace both shared their memory of getting choked up watching the dramatic introductions at OU: “I started to cry seeing Nicole out there, this girl I grew up with. She’s come so far.”

Even my husband revealed his tender side: “You inspire me to be a better person, Dennis. You’re the best man I know, and I love you.”

Just goes to show you, with the right relationships, the most ordinary days can make for an extraordinary vacation.

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