My fair family (I'm the tannest one of all): my niece Marga (who, in turn, is the fairest one of all), sister-in-law Rita, big brother Iggy, mom, nephew Diego, husband Hamil, dad, and big brother JC
My husband went up north to go surfing this weekend, and I had to stay behind because of work. Whenever he goes out of town without me, I sleep over at the family home. I get the feeling that my mom likes it when Hamil is away. She always answers with a chirpy "Sure!" when I ask if I could stay a night or two or three.
Last night, my brother Iggy came out of their room with a bottle of the family drink in hand--Asti Martini, our faux champagne every New Year's Eve. And since I've been having such a rough week, I decided to have a glass, allergies be damned. Mom took a few swigs as well. The three of us just sat around talking, my brother on the floor, my mom and I on the daybed. We chatted about work and family and life, threw around New Year's Eve ideas (it's about half a year away, but some tickets might need to be booked), and just spent a quiet, relaxing evening at home, the chilled bubbly adding to our good spirits.
It was a nice way to spend a Saturday night. I hit a certain age when I just couldn't party until sunrise anymore, and in fact would start yawning at 11:00 pm. And it was at about the same age when I started to find pleasure in just hanging out with my family.
Don't get me wrong--even when the going was tough (and oh, for a time, it was really tough) I've always loved my family, and have always been particularly close to my darling mom. But I didn't really have the warm, fuzzy feelings that some people associate with their kin. When I was younger, I used to envy my friends who would talk to their siblings or parents as if they were great friends--no angst, no irritation, no thoughts of "I'd rather be somewhere else." But somewhere along the way, I began to enjoy sitting around a dinner table, stuffing myself with good food while listening to my brother's anecdotes, my dad's random memories, my niece's expanding vocabulary (she gets extra points for cuteness). And I think that maybe, just maybe, we're lucky enough to have turned into the family I used to envy.