Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Thicker Than Water
I haven't cooked a dinner at home in almost two weeks. My dad and Kristy, my step-mom, have fed us nearly every night or we've been out with friends. And it's been wonderful. Though I can honestly say that I've missed cooking a bit. I haven't even been to the grocery store in ages, so it's about damn time I make a list and get back to reality. (Especially because we ran out of creamer this morning, and that cannot go on, black coffee, no.) And since I'm in my thirties, married with my own home, why have my parents been providing our meals for the last two weeks? Well, we've had lots of family in town and how do we celebrate and spend time together? Probably like you do with your family, we eat.
Kristy's parents, Phyllis and Paul, were in town last weekend for a few days. We don't get to see them very often since they live in Illinois, so it was a treat to see them this visit. Paul is a huge fan of the author Doris Kearns Goodwin and Kristy got a couple of tickets to an event that she was speaking at last week, so the folks came to KC. Phyllis and Paul are warm and kind people. Phyllis legitimately laughs at my dad's jokes and has no trouble bossing me around, particularly in the kitchen, which is just endearing and funny. Paul is a rabid Cardinals fan and rather reserved, so it was fun to see him all giddy and excited to get to meet one of his favorite authors, and of course spend some time with his daughter, but really to meet Doris. (Doris is reportedly very petite, birdlike really, she looks taller on TV.)
We had dinner over at my dad and Kristy's house on Sunday, went out to dinner with my dad and Phyllis while Kristy and Paul went to the Doris event on Monday, and then back again for a little going away dinner at Dad and Kristy's house on Tuesday. We hung out, took a bunch of pictures and had some fantastic barbecue. But whew. I'm guessing Paul and Phyllis got enough of us to last a couple of years. It was a great few days. I rarely get to spend that much time with my parents during the week, and certainly don't get to spend that much time with Kristy's parents. They headed home on Wednesday, just missing my younger brother, Mike, who was visiting for the week from Florida.
Mike got in on Wednesday morning, so of course, my parents had us all over for dinner again. Leftovers and just hanging out with Mike, who we all hadn't seen since May. I love just spending time with all of us together. We all get along so well. We speak the same weird family language, cobbled together from shared history and too many viewings of the Big Lebowski, and it's just easy. It hasn't always been like that. We've all struggled to get along, figure out our roles and how to support each other, how to forgive past mistakes and arguments. But I think we're there now. And it feels good.
Thursday we were home, but Friday night was party night. We went to the Spofford Home Butterfly Gala with our friends, Caroline and Kegan. I finally decided on a party dress, after trying on another three options. We got all dolled up and headed out to one of the largest silent auctions I've ever seen. It was gigantic. Held at the Doubletree Hotel, my old high school stomping grounds, home of my first job and my junior prom, we browsed table after table of items, big and small. And I mean table after table. We put in a bunch of bids but got outbid on nearly everything.
Couple of glasses of wine, mingling with Caroline and Kegan, then a tasty dinner, and a slide show that made Caroline and I both cry, watching the story of one child whose life was changed by his stay at Spofford Home, which is a residential treatment facility for young children with mental health issues. Then we got to watch all the rich people bid on crazy decadent live auction items. Trips, jewelry, golf and wine events of course, and more trips. And a fur. Evidently people still wear fur. They raised $25,000 in cash donations in just under 3 minutes. Impressive. We had a great time, supported a wonderful organization and walked away with one small butterfly pin and a membership to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. Solid night. Thanks for inviting us, guys.
Saturday we got to sleep in, putter around the house, replace my car battery, run errands and yeah, more family time! This time we went out to dinner with my mom and Mike. We ventured out to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in town, Guadalajara Cafe. I've mentioned it before here, and it's always good. Whether you order for yourself or let the owner or waiter order for you, the food is delicious and the staff knowledgeable and competent. And Mike and my mom had never been there before, which made it even better.
We got to celebrate Mom's new job (Go, Mom!!) and Mike's visit, all between bites of the "best tacos you've ever had" and the "no yellow cheese, no ground beef, no crispy tacos" shrimp entrees. After dinner we all lounged around at our house, and looked at photos and talked and just caught up. Another relaxed, mellow night with the family.
Sunday, Game Day! Yeah. That is entirely fake enthusiasm. I have no interest in sports of any kind. I like hearing Al Roker say "Sunday Night... Football Night... in America" but that's pretty much it. Sorry, just not my thing, remember? The Chiefs played early on Sunday, so Joe and I did some yard work. I whipped up some peanut butter cookies, because baking on Sunday has just become a habit, a delicious fattening habit, and we cleaned up and headed over to my dad and Kristy's to "watch" the game.
Or read old issues of Vanity Fair and post silly pictures on Facebook. After the shouting and sadness subsided, evidently the Chiefs lost, we watched Big Night and forced my dad to realize he actually liked it, watched a little bit of the documentary Babies, (somebody really likes their Netflix Instant Watch) and then our family photographer took some portraits and we ate some more. Ah, Sunday.
Mike left today. We had a little going away dinner with him last night. But I'm sad. Having him back in town this week was wonderful. In part, because he's my brother and I love him. But as we've both gotten older, I realize how different we may be from each other, but how little that actually matters. I just like Mike and I'd like him even if we weren't related. Mike's grown up so much in the last couple of years and I'm so proud of him. Plus he's just damn funny. I don't know when I'll get to see him next and that makes me a little teary eyed just thinking about it. Christmas won't be the same without him here. But we'll see him soon. Even if we have to visit him in Miami ourselves next spring. How awful, right?