The family - that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape, nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.
Male bonding. It is such an incredible thing to see, being that I'm a girl and all. When Warren's dad, brother and nephew all came to visit this weekend, 3 generations of guenther males entered our house for an unforgettable weekend of a much anticipated and much needed all boys weekend. Well, almost, I was there to witness it, although much of the time, I tried to stay in the background as much as possible so as not to dilute the experience. There was a lot of gaseousness, lack of showers, McDonalds for breakfast everyday, beer at 3pm, and endless sports talk.
I get to see my sisters a lot, I mean heck, we live within 20min to 3 hours of eachother so we have plenty of time for girl time. And we all lead these incredibly different lives, have a wide range of beliefs, tastes and issues, yet we still accept eachother for who we each are, no matter what. And I can guarantee you that any of us, would drop anything at any time to help one another as needed. It wasn't always that way, but as sands of time fall, we have wised up to the fact that there is no one else in this world that is more like us, than eachother. That's kinda how this weekend ended up being like.
Warren has a younger brother that he absolutely adores yet does not get to see much. They do talk a lot on the phone which helps them keep in touch. Life took them on separate and pretty different paths, too. However, their paths met up this weekend as did their hearts. Time stood still, everyday worries were thrown to the back of the mind and the appreciation of brotherhood was swept to the forefront.
The weekend started out with the brothers heading out to a Blazer play off game. Despite the terrible one-sided calls of the refs and the terrible loss, they cheered their asses off in their red and black jerseys. Near the end of the game, his brother got a call that one of his student's father had just passed away - he was in his early 50's. It was a moment that would mark the weekend for these brothers. It brought their feet down to the ground and put their hearts in motion. As they spent the next day entertaining 4 year old Colin, they frequently chatted about their love of their dad. 'Dad can't die, I mean, he just can't'; as they observed how much slower he walked the mile where they were forced to park their car. These brothers weren't far away from this reality for their mother had been through the fight of her life just 11 years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she had survived to keep kicking their butts.
Later in the evening, we sat out in the front yard, in the hot setting sun, intoxicating ourselves with our vices of choice - Doug with Bud Light, Warren with Cactus Cooler, David with Red Bull and Vodka, Colin with Milk, me with Wine. Buckets of stories, past and present, were told that lead to revelations of 'Ahhhh, you do that too?' and 'So that's where we get that'.... And things were shared and talked about that they had not been able to express before. They laughed till they were almost crying when they found out that their freakish way of folding clothes was exactly the same to the very last detail, that both of their wives thought they were insane for folding their clothes this way and, when did they learn to be this anal about folding clothes?! That led of course, to 'Oh man, what are we passing on to our kids, not deliberately, but unseeingly'. What will they pick up that will keep the generations laughing. And back to 'What will we do on nights like this when Dad and Mom aren't here'. The answer was uneasily right in front of all of our faces. We will do what they did, keep the stories alive, keep telling them and re-telling them, but most importantly, keep the bonds of family and brotherhood and sisterhood alive because in 30 years will be sitting here, watching the young yet grown up faces of our kids, nieces and nephews as they hold together the ties of family and re-tell legends that grandpa told, and re-tell stories we told and laugh at new stories, that will be the oral traditions of their kids. They will laugh at how much they are like us. Stories live forever and the cool part is they are embellished with each telling. We are each the stuff that legends are made of. It is up to us to keep those family bonds strong and to pass the stories. Time, location and where we are at the moment will bring on new traditions and re-mixed traditions but included in each and every one of these should be celebrations and stories of the elders because they will spark special memories and leave forever endearing moments in hearts; and create more stories to pass on.
The guys got on their plane this afternoon to fly back to reality. Worries will trouble them from time to time, happiness and sorrow will keep bringing them together; yet they will always have this weekend as another link that was created to hold that family bond tightly together.