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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website, PlantingDandelions.com


Family Ties
My favorite cousin in the whole wide world is getting married this month. Mom and Dad came from large families, and I have a ton of cousins on both sides, most of whom I am crazy about, but Erika is like a sister to me. Minus the slapping and hair pulling.

She was born, in deference to my natural leadership abilities, three months after me. Here is a picture of us from way back, with her mom and my dad. I believe this is the only time I have seen her in pink. Kudos to our hipster moms for outfitting us in the latest pantsuit styles--I have rarely been this pulled together since. As you might infer from looking at my father, our family tree had a cross branch or two in it. Her father is a blonde version of mine, also of an artistic bent, and they remained close as adults. (Speaking of my father, what's with the necktie in this picture? I mean, what's the point?)

Erika was a bridesmaid in my first wedding, for which I adorned her and her counterparts in shiny green satin, puffed sleeves and other fine couture details, to ensure I would not be the only fool with a giant bow planted squarely on my ass. She and my sister are the only members of that original nuptial back-up group who still speak to me today. Such is the bond of blood.

I got married much too young, and Erika was my link to the single life. Every couple of weeks, she'd take me out to her favorite downtown bar where we'd dance all night to grunge music and she'd introduce me around as "my cousin who's married." She was my confidante during my break-down/break-up, and many times during that torturous year, my only source of levity. She is wickedly smart and funny. Think Tina Fey, but mellower. Beneath the wry grin, she is quite tenderhearted. I remember a phase of unemployment when she got hooked on "Little House on the Prairie" reruns. She'd answer the door with red-rimmed eyes, blowing into a tissue. "It's Pa," she'd explain, tearfully.

I despaired she'd ever settle down. Her own parents--another two of my very favorite people--have been married an unusually long and happy time, and frankly, I worried it had warped her. I was concerned she was looking to enter the front end of a relationship with expectations based on observing the back end. Our family has an unmatched gift for critical observation. In fact, our dna has evolved to favor this capacity over emotional intelligence and common sense. We tend to live in the abstract. I think of it as a mild form of retardation. If we are very lucky, we meet someone who can knock us off our high horse and bring us down to earth.

The minute I met Rob, now the fiance, I began to silently pray: pick him, pick him. He could not be more perfect. Self-assured, un-neurotic, down-to-earth, street-smart, moneywise, calm and good-humored. We NEED this man in the gene pool. Also he has, I gather, a large, happy, chaotic, kid-centric, big, fat, Newfoundland family. EX-cellent....My beloved cousin has very firm ideas about raising children. I am most anxious that she should have two or three of her own, preferably at least one set of twins.

"You're not about to give into that," are you? she asked me incredulously on a visit home a few years ago, when one of my children came up whining for a cookie.

"Hell, yes," I replied, forking over the treat. I hadn't come over two thousand miles to play the alpha-mom; I was going to savor every minute I had with Erika in peace, supposing I had to lay out their weight in chocolate chips to do it.

In the same spirit of favoring the end over the means, I am going to her wedding (on frequent flyer points), although it will take me nearly two days to get there, with barely two days on the ground before I have to get on a plane and come back, and I will probably have to take enough valium to knock out a horse (see my recent post on fear of flying). It's a mad enterprise; completely and utterly irrational.

And it will be worth every second.

Filed under: friendsrelations, marriage, kids, goodtimes
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5 Comments:

Blogger bluebird of paradise said...

as always your writing is so amazing and funny. i had forgotten about that picture. did you steal it? or was in in the album i made for you?
dad must have been teaching. by the looks of your outfit we were living in fogo. remember the shcool picture of you when you were two. you were wearing that same outfit.
we must dig up old photos of erika and you for the wedding.
can't wait!
your mom

8:16 PM  
Anonymous Brian C said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:39 PM  
Anonymous Brian C said...

I've meant to leave a message before but simply didn't- no excuse. I enjoy your blog and it's witty insight.

PS - the Arkansas Times issue you're featured in is out as of Thursday the 7th


Brian

11:41 PM  
Blogger Erika said...

Hey - thanks for the lovely memories. I will always be the Betty to your Veronica.

I had forgotten about my Little House on the Prairie fandom. Now I am all about Buffy and Veronica Mars.

But I haven't lost my love of sap - 7 years ago, just before I met Rob, I had no cable television and spent an absurd amount of time watching Seventh Heaven.

Rob and I are getting very excited about the wedding and we are thrilled you are coming so far to be with us! The jazz band is hired, the bar will be open, and friends and family will abound.

Your hair appointment is made - in your stylist will have just returned from doing super model hair at New York Fashion Week - so you'll look hot at the reception!

Can't wait to see you.

PS- As for children - we are thinking about having ONE. For now.

6:12 AM  
Blogger K. said...

Thanks, Brian! I am so excited whenever anyone delurks. (are the rest of you brooding and silent types listening?) Hope you will keep visiting and keep commenting. We writers are a needy, insecure lot.

k.

7:08 AM  

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