Holiday season is here. Break out the turkeys, casseroles, Christmas carols, gifts, and family. We all picture the cozy family gatherings viewed through a frozen, candlelit window pane amidst snow softly falling. We don’t ever imagine the actual train wreck it is for many of us. The reality is, for those among us in recovery, those among us who are LGBT, those of us who are desperately trying to establish our own truths about our identities as adults, that family ends up being a place where we don’t belong. Aunt Edith is going to whisper (loudly) all the latest gossip about cousin Ned’s latest stint in rehab so that everyone within a 50 mile radius can hear it. Another relative is going to ask gay cousin Jim what happened to his last “friend”. Granny is going to get pissed because the rolls are burning and no one can be bothered with helping. And God knows that someone is going to bring up politics.
“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We’ve all heard the cliché describing the undertaking of anything that seems overwhelming. So it is with signing up for a writing course when you’ve never written anything for publication. Except it isn’t. Does fear of vulnerability, exposure, or failure exist at the prospect of eating an elephant?
Downward dog. Downward facing dog. Observing a 115 pound Great Dane do this truly makes one respect the art form. Large (but not too large) and graceful, this girl puts her big bucket head flat to the ground and gets the full stretch from her harlequin hued hamstrings. This is usually followed by a massive yawn and a groan that makes me laugh out loud. We’re talking about her groans, not mine. Mine aren’t that funny.
I light up her dark eyes. I contribute to the worry lines on her weathered forehead, and to the laugh lines near her soft eyes and soft cheeks. I make her proud just because I exist. I made her a grandmother when she was 43 years young. I was born into a family in which I never fit. Most who share my DNA are strangers who have always spoken a different language than me, figuratively. I was an accident, an unplanned pregnancy. My father, her son, did the honorable thing and married my mother. In the way of her life, she turned lemons into lemonade. I am her first grand.