This photo appeared with no context in my Facebook memories this morning and I've been thinking about it all day. And not just because I was what looks to be more or less successfully doing that transparently vain hold-something-in-your-hand-and-turn-slightly-to-show-off-your-guns gay photo-posing thing. It's actually -- and admittedly --because I think this is a really good picture of my sister and me, but more importantly it's because this picture nicely captures the happiness -- the true, grateful-to-have happiness -- we share both as siblings and as members of our larger family. I love my sister. I love all of us. I love the experiences and the milestones and the journeys and the conversations and the jokes and the secrets and the traditions and even the struggles -- actually, especially the struggles because they tend to be more memorable and clearly more defining -- we've shared and are sharing and will continue to share as we grow and evolve and shape what makes our family our family.
I'm in awe of my sister as a mother, as a volunteer, as a community pillar, as a family anchor and sometimes as a secret shopper for a clueless uncle who never knows what to get the kids for Christmas. I'm in awe of my brother-in-law as father, as a clear-headed impartial observer, as an unsentimental and excessively handy neat freak, as an intellect, as an organic member of our family, and as a friend. I'm in awe of my parents as providers, as survivors, as historians, as sentimentalists, as I-still-don't-have-a-full-comprehension-of-how-widely-influential-they-are role models, and as fierce, loving protectors of all of us no matter what. And I'm especially in awe of my niece and nephew as they continue to emerge as kind, decent, studied, aware, intelligent, interesting, truly funny young adults.
I know I am mountaintop fortunate to belong to such a close, loving, awe-inspiring family. I know that the good and the bad and even the very bad will -- because they already have -- keep drawing us closer. I know my niece and nephew and I can spend a whole evening repeating the same Stewie quote well past the point of exasperating tedium and still laugh and still totally get each other.
I know I am in a good place.
And I know we are happy.