The older you get, the more you wonder what call you're going to get, when it will happen, how it will play out, how you'll react. In the strangest kind of irony, our family did what many families do – the kids all got along better than ever during those first painful days.
In a twist that messes with your head, Monday was a horrible day not knowing how my mom was doing and being unable to get across the country to her – and the best day because John and I found a wonderful apartment that we can't wait to move into. It's right next to a park, walking distance to a grocery store and a chinese take out and a church we're going to try out.
Families are so strange. Some of the ties that bind are like ribbons on an Easter dress. They're pretty and colorful and they make you happy. Some are more like ropes. They're tough and they chafe, but they never let you go. For better or for worse.
Over time, though, you begin to see that the ribbon is tougher than the kind on a dress. The rope gets softer as time goes by. And outside of the most dysfunctional families (and aren't we all at least a little dysfunctional?), you wouldn't give up that chafing ribbon-rope for anything.
I've made and received so many calls this past week that I had to change my calling plan to include more minutes. My brother and sisters and I have talked more in the last seven days than we have in the last seven months. That's how love is a ribbon.
But as Mom gets better and wants to fight some necessary changes in her life (like kidney dialysis), we're bound to disagree about how to handle things. My mom made a point to raise her children to be individual, not trying to fit in or be like “everyone else.” But that means that her kids are all very different. Hence, a lot of chafing even when we're trying to get along and find the common good. That's how love is a rope.
I have no idea how the next few weeks and months will play out. But I bet the ribbon-rope of love will make me crazy-happy to be a part of my family. Perhaps mostly crazy.
Somehow, I bet you understand.