Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happy/Sad Day

This morning, I had a good laugh reading my friend Joani's blog, "My Second Wind". She tells how she took a sad situation and started goofy new family traditions with her grandkids. I started thinking about my little French Grandma, who died in the 1970's. Grandma was cute and funny and often the instigator of big messy food fights at the picnic table. I can see it like yesterday, her filling a plastic spoon with yellow mustard and shooting it at my uncle. He of course escalated the affair into a full blown fiasco involving all of us, while Grandpa grouchily hollered, "Stop! Food is sacred!" Whereas we found grandma leaning against a tree laughing so hard she was peeing her pants. As kids we were a little scared of Grandpa, but Grandma always found ways to break the tension and make everything fun.

My little Grandma
Now, understanding the family dynamics, his alcohol addiction and all the issues that lead up to that time, I see Grandma, the sweet positive influence of our lives, as somewhat of a saint. Her three children often got the brunt of his abuse, but her fun-loving nature got them through their childhoods with strength and humor. Grandpa lived on for another 20 years, a time that was healing for my Mom and him, something I didn't foresee.

Their wedding day, 1926ish
Back to the present...Two weeks ago my baby brother, Dave, got married. He met his beautiful wife, Clarita, while participating in Native American ceremonies in Florida. She is from Argenina, living in Florida with her 6 year old son. Their wedding was in the ceremonial tepee that Dave made a few years ago. Friends came from Florida, Colorado, Canada, and Vermont to his little cabin on a hill in Western Mass.

A beautiful day!

Tepee on right with its bottom raised for the breezes. 36' diameter
They had an overnight ceremony two days before with all their friends who participate, then they invited all of us to the wedding in the tepee. The wedding ceremony combined traditions of North and South America. Tibetan prayer flags and wind chimes flew from the tepee. It was very beautiful and sweet. They asked me to take pictures, and I got almost 400 great shots of all the action.

Fire ring and altar as wedding begins

Hands tied together
I have enjoyed getting to know this wonderful woman who is my new sister. Her son is adorable and loves Dave. Dave is so happy to have a new family and a new life. Today is the day they are driving away to Florida. He will pack light and leave a lot behind for another trip, but he can't go without his cactus! Last night Jim had to go up and help him get the cactus in the car. (There are several of them and they are BIG!)

She sang him a beautiful song in Spanish
 A little sniffle or two!

After lighting the fire
I wasn't sad about the move till Mom mentioned it with a quiver to her voice. Now I'm remembering that little kid who I had to babysit for. Holding his big warty hands as we crossed the street, taking him to the county fair. He cried all the time and had terrible tantrums. He was skinny in a chubby family, circles around his eyes and his tummy distended. No one knew what was wrong with him, till as a preteen, he ended up in the hospital with terrible allergy symptoms. After learning what to avoid and how to take care of himself, he lived much more healthily. He became a strong man, whose big square hands do the most remarkable artistic carpentry. He has done pottery and art fabrication and installations, he has designed and executed beautiful kitchens and bathrooms in fabulous houses. He can look at something, then draw it in great detail from memory. He is what I call a renaissance man-anything he attempts he completes with beauty and grace.

The blanket ceremony

It was 90 degrees that day!
As the youngest child, Dave has his annoying little habits-but we will all miss him in our own ways now that he is moving away! Mom is used to having all her chicks under her wing since I moved back from my 20 years in Colorado. She will have to make the biggest adjustment. I think I'd better get her set-up with internet, so they can skype.

So today is happy/sad. But what it portends is hope for the future! We can make the most of each day or let life defeat us. The choice is ours. This I believe.

Best wishes for Dave, Clarita and Benjamin!