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Thursday, May 04, 2006

WHAT IS FAMILY?

A day or two after Kathy died, something my mother-in-law said got back to me: "I hope he doesn't forget us."

Kathy and I had no children. I suppose I could just disappear from my in-laws' lives. Or they from mine.

Kathy and I were together for 20 years, three months and three days. Of all my nephews and nieces, only one was already born when Kathy and I started dating (in what we always called our "Summer of Love," 1985), and HE was less than a year old. So I was there -- not in the delivery room, of course -- for all but one of their births.

I held them all as babies. They call me Uncle Mark. Then I say to them, "Just call me Mark." (I tell that to ALL of my nephews and nieces, no matter how young.) They STILL call me Uncle Mark.

I've been to their christenings, their birthday parties, their gymnastic meets, their Christmases. (Not their Easters; I work on Sundays.) I was their guest classroom lecturer, their confirmation sponsor, their cartoon drawer. We've been to the beach a hundred times, and rode as many waves. I've been there for their whole lives. They've been there for damn near half of mine.

I recently (and tearfully) told one of my sisters-in-law that my great hope is to stay with this family, our family, for the rest of my time on this world. Stuff happens in life, and I don't have rose-colored glasses OR blinders on, so I know that there are no guarantees or absolutes or crystal balls. This is just my great hope.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ARE my brother, brother Mark. I hold that same hope, too. :)

11:16 AM, May 10, 2006  
Anonymous Sister-In-Law Gail said...

You ARE my brother, brother Mark. I hold that same hope, too. :)

11:23 AM, May 10, 2006  

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