Refreshed from my nap and feeling all is well. Husband's progress on his 45's seems to make him happy. Looking forward to going to see my Dad. (We interrupt this program for a short marital spat - okay...and...done!)
Dad's band was playing outdoors at a Boat Club downriver. Here's the kicker: My Mother and my Brother (and his Girlfriend) were all planning on attending. Why is this a kicker you ask? Well, let's see how I can sum this up right quick:
My Brother emancipated himself from our family at the age of 16 in favor of a life that has taken him from skipping school to pot to one teen parent to heroin to two more kids to breaking and entering to domestic violence to state taking children away to heroin to meth to Arizona to hell and back. My Brother is 34 years old and has been back in this state since December of last year. He has run my entire family through the wringer time after time after time to the point where only my Mother would still speak to him. My Dad and I kept our distance. After 8 months of seemingly drama-free existence, we are both slowly allowing him back in to our lives. With trepidation and cautious optimism, we watch from afar and pray that he won't hurt us again. This particular evening was the first time he's been seen by many in over 15 years.
My Mother, for various reasons, turned her own life upside down when I was 14. Choosing a life consisting of drugs, thugs and fear over that of the safe haven I was accustomed to. Years later, we have, at best, a rocky relationship. It's getting better though. She, too, has alienated many in her life... after many years, she and Dad have a friendly relationship and this particular evening was the first time SHE's been seen by many.
I wasn't going to miss this for the world.
Growing up, my Dad's music shaped our lives. Every weekend, his band was playing at some local bar. Friday and Saturday nights, my Brother and I would stay with friends or at home while my Mother went out to have a good time listening to good music with some good friends. The band (in any of it's carnations) was always a tight group where the "Band Wives" were either related or just acted like they were. The kids of these band members were all friends and when the band played where we could get in (Hart Plaza, Strawberry Festival, Street Fairs) we all felt connected to each other as if we had something none of our other school friends would ever share.
The evening went well. The band sounded great, people were having a good time. Some of my Mom's old friends (the band and their wives and a niece thrown in for good measure) were there and accepted her presence as if time had stood still. She drank, she danced, she chatted and it was like a time trip. They were a little more leary of my Brother, but friendly all the same and seemed to enjoy the fact that the four of us were in the same room. And then, someone had a smashing idea... one I wish I had thought of... how about a picture?
You see, these photos are something rare. As it turns out, the last time the four of us were in a picture together was 1990. NEARLY TWENTY YEARS since the last time we were all in a photo together. This blew my mind. It was surreal. I know for some people it doesn't seem like a big deal. But this is my family. Both of my parents have remarried. My Mother has taken in some kids from her Husbands family, my Dad has had another child (who is most awesome by the way) and gotten divorced again, but this? THIS is the family I grew up with. This was all I ever knew. This was a happy group while I was growing up. This was the quintessential one boy, one girl, one couple who openly loved each other and were envied by so many for their passion and commitment to each other. This is my history. And I didn't realize how much I missed it until this particular evening. I wouldn't trade my little sister in for the world and I had an incredible relationship with my Step-Mom who nearly made me forget the pain my real Mom has caused me and my Mother is married to a terrific man ... but if different choices had been made, these pics wouldn't have been so few and far between. These kinds of pictures would fill up all of the disk space on my computer. These pictures wouldn't carry such a magnitude of emotion with them. This particular post wouldn't even need to exist at all.