Families can be a little... weird.
Also, they can be entirely wonderful, as I am discovering up here, just after New Year's, in Maine. My cousin - in many ways my closest cousin, emotionally and age-wise - is home for a few weeks from her current work/life arrangement in Mozambique. My cousin is every bit her parent's daughter - international, cosmopolitan, dedicated to doing good work, and raising her own son the best way possible. And I miss her terribly.
It only took minutes for the two of us to resume our frendly, easy way of talking. Our lives have taken us in all sorts of directions, but I still remember the smart, brave little hooligan who helped me dominate our younger siblings (her brother, my sister), stage our childhood theatricals, and craft all sorts of games and adventures (the best: spying on our babysitter after supposedly being sent to bed, discovering her using my parent's shower). Now here I sit, teaching her son checkers. And telling not-so-naughty cat jokes.
I am grateful for my family for many reasons, most of all because they serve as my reminder that I am not the only one of my sort out in the world - a little wierd, a little different, a little creative and trying to get the spotlight. Coming to visit is remembering that I come from somehwere - not from Maine, necessarily, but a state of mind - and that I can, always, come home.
So maybe our family is much like yours, even if I think not. Maybe you too would sit in a pitch dark, beautifully decorated living room - my Aunt has superb taste and years of international acquisitions to display - while your Uncle plays a selection of the 10 or 20 different versions of "For All We Know" by some of the greats of pop music and jazz, while the rest of your family listens along, noting every gifted interpreation, every turn of phrase. Maybe your cousin's son would contribute his new light up ladybug to the proceedings, projecting a seas of moon and stars on the walls and ceiling. And maybe you too would get to discover one of the best Aretha Franklin performances you've ever heard in your lifetime, so engrossing we had to play it again and again. While your Aunt and Uncle share a slow dance, and your Aunt sings along in her own graceful, ovely fashion.
Maybe, for all I know, you do all that too. I have my doubts.
For us, it was heaven. A chance to connect and reconnect; for me, it was like some wild gay dream (for all we know... this may only be a dream): torch songs and candlelight and witty repartee... and I'm related to all of the participants. And we may never get this chance again... for all we know.
But damn, I hope we do.