2017 trip – relearning what it means to be family

No physical travels today.  Just emotional, psychological, and spiritual travels.  Today I had breakfast with my sister.  I have done that quite rarely in the last 45 years of my life.  I also spent the day with some of the other people to whom I am most closely related: my sister’s children and grandchildren.  Again, a rare event in my life.

Apart from being activities which I have seldom experienced, I came to a new realization late in the day about the nature of the day.  I spent the whole day with family and it felt: NORMAL.  I didn’t have to be on edge about everything being said, I didn’t have to be ready to explain every comment made, and it felt like everyone was just plain enjoying being together.  While I often have this feeling when spending time with my children, I have not felt like this with a sibling for a long time.  It makes me regret that tomorrow will be the last day together, and that we will eventually be back in Seattle so far from these people I am proud to call family.  I am assured that one or more of them will make it out to visit us in the near future and I look forward to that.

On a more specific level, I have met my match as a puzzle solver.  One of my grand nephews was quickly able to solve all of the rubic’s type puzzles I had brought along on the trip to play with in the evenings.  I brought along a dodecahedron puzzle that has never been solved since I first scrambled it several years ago.  Late in the day I asked where Ryan was.  I was told he had been upstairs earlier but had gone back to the basement.  I said I wanted to show him my best puzzle, and one of the parents handed me the puzzle and asked, “Do you mean this one?”   It was fully solved,  I hadn’t even seen him do it.

We were asked to be the judges in a contest to determine the best Chicago style pizza.  Presented with 3 different slices, I made my selection, but made it clear that all three were marvelous.  I was told I could be asking for trouble if I dared to identify any one of them as better than another, as everyone in Chicago has very strong feelings about their preferences.  I am going to stick with declaring them all winners.  For the record the three pizzas in the competition were:  Gino’s East, Giordano’s, and Lou Malnatis.

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