Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Last One

The scene: My sisters and I are on our way to Paint Nite up in Fresno. Kari had bought us tickets for Christmas and in April, we finally align our schedules to go. I'm in the backseat of Kari's car trying not to throw up (I get sick in the back of cars) and we're talking. We haven't been alone to talk candidly in a while, so the topics are many in just a short 45 minute car ride. At one point, I say "I wonder what the last picture of the five of us was?" and the car gets quiet.

At one time I had a dad, a mom and two sisters. I now have a dad, a stepmom, a mom, a stepdad, two sisters, two brother-in-laws, a husband, three nieces, three nephews, a son and a daughter.

Whew. So much amazing growth. So many people that I am proud to call family. In all of those relationships is so much love... but there's also some pain.

I was born into a family of five people. The way I think, behave, speak and emote can all be tied back to my family. The core of who I am was built as the youngest child of a family of five. Life, education, love and loss have all impacted who I am but the roots are the same. They cannot be altered.

It is extremely hard to pretend that this period of my life did not exist. It is so tough to feel like you are not allowed to acknowledge the loss of divorce. It is frustrating to totally love the people your parents married but still miss (sometimes overwhelmingly) having your "family".

You would think that the two couldn't go hand in hand. If I miss the "OG Farpellas" and my heart breaks that we'll never be "the Farpella family" again then that should mean that I don't love my Dad and his wife or my Mom and her husband. But it does. It lives within me. I love that they found people to love and to love them. I love that they're happy. I care for them. I champion them. I support them.

But I also miss my family. And it freaking sucks because it feels like I'm not supposed to (or allowed to).

The reality of it all is that the older I get, the more I start to tie who I am back to my childhood. The more I parent the more I flashback to being a kid. For a just moment I am transported to 1995 and I'm 7 years old, reading books in my closet and ignoring my dad's calls to come eat dinner.

When I talk about getting car-sick, I think of all those camping trips where my parents thought "this time" would be different so they'd would sit me in the backseat, only to have to pull over to the side of the road (many times on the side of a mountain!) to clean up vomit from the car, change my clothes and then put me in the front with a paper bag. I'd end up feeling so crummy that whole day from a few hours in the backseat when they could have just sat me upfront to begin with. I'd also be anxious the whole trip because I knew in a few short days I'd have to travel home and the whole cycle would likely repeat itself.

Now that I'm older and a parent, it both cracks me up that they didn't accept my travelling limitations and irritates me that they didn't learn from experience (at my expense).

I feel pain when I think of the things we'll never do again. Like go camping or sit around the table playing cards.

Or, take a family photo.

Neither of my parents come from a broken family. Their parents, for better or worse, stayed together until the very end. My mom could stop by her parents house to have coffee with her mom and dad until he passed away a few years ago. She went on vacation with her parents to the Azores multiple times as an adult.

My dad went over to his parents house to help his dad with rabbit traps and his mom with cooking well until he was an adult.

Both of them could always go "home".

Sometimes, life gets hard enough that I wish I could just go home. I wish I could sit on the porch with my parents and tell them that I suck at this life stuff. Or go to Christmas and smell my dads pot roast and my moms banana bread.

Every once in a while I'll remember the way her perfume and his cologne smelled just before they left for work or an event.

I can't help but wonder what Shepherd and Lauriana will remember about their childhood home. Will they remember the clutter all over the dining room table? The way their mom always ran around looking for her shoes before leaving the house? The times when Daddy wrestled with them in the living room?

It's easy for me to carried away with how things are and how badly I want to change them to be better. But then, every once in a while, I realize that this might just be the moment my kids wish they could go back to when their mom and dad are long gone.

In the those moments I try to snap a photo... because you never know when the last one will be the last one.




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