It’s true. We all have our quirks. Our less appealing bits about ourselves. Our strengths and our weaknesses. And nowhere is this magnified more than within the walls of a family.
We love each other. We drive each other crazy.
Our families have known us for so long, it’s hard to hide our true personality from each other. They already know it. That time you threw a fit about the unfair rules during a game of Guesstures when you were well past the age that you should be throwing fits about such things – well, you remember it and they remember it. And it wasn’t flattering.
To compound things further, many of us tend to spend a lot of time around each. With our families that is. So while that little quirk in a friend you rarely see is simply endearing, that same little quirk amongst family members can be rather bothersome.
While it wouldn’t be right of me to speak about my other family members in this public forum, I can speak to one of my own quirks as an example. A quirk I know they talk about when I’m not around.
I have been told, eh-hem, that I have a tendency to be bossy.
Growing up my younger brother and sister would often say to me, “You think you’re the boss.”
And I would always respond with, “Because I am.”
Backpacking through Europe with two of my dearest friends after college, one finally threw her hands up in frustration and cried out, “Why do you always have to be the one to hold the map and the guidebook?”
“Because it’s my map and it’s my book??”
And most recently, the Rooster tried to soften it by saying, “You know, you can be a little bit bossy.”
My response back was, “You do what you’re good at and let me do what I’m good at.”
And so it goes and we continue to irk each other from time to time with our little habitual behavior.
But then something happens – a bit of sadness in someone’s life, a difficult bump in the road, a medical diagnosis that wasn’t expected – and we’re simply grateful for the quirks as we watch another who is known to be bossy as well take charge when nobody else was sure what to do.
And then we all gather together – mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandchildren – and we share a meal. Perhaps some slow-cooked chicken piled in a tortilla and topped with cilantro, a sprinkle of cheese and a spoonful of salsa, a big bowl of tabbouleh with garden-picked parsley and mint, a colander of grapes and the most amazing, moist, dense chocolatey brownies you’ve had in a long time.
We share the meal and we talk about this and that. We watch the kids dance. We sit around a fire pit and have a good chuckle about the pyromaniac tendencies of boys – boys who are now men. We pass around hugs. Hugs that last a little bit longer than usual. Hugs that stand in for the “right thing to say.”
And we’re so grateful we have our family – quirks and all – to gather together during difficult times. Just to be there, to be present, even when we’re not sure what to say.
And somehow, just that, helps one, help another to make it up over the bump.
|Tabbouleh Salad With a Twist|| |
- one head of butter lettuce, washed, dried and torn into pieces
- 3 meaty, red ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 english cucumber, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- a handful of Italian Parsley leaves, chopped
- a smaller handful of mint leaves, chopped
- 1 c crumbled feta cheese
- Vinaigrette - link to recipe follows below
- Prepare all of your vegetables.
- Put in a large bowl.
- Right before serving, toss with the vinaigrette which can be made with white wine vinegar or lemon juice depending on your taste preference.
- Spoon onto plates.
Here is the link to my favorite homemade vinaigrette that I posted in January 2010 – Homemade Vinaigrette.