Monday, September 12, 2011


Flowers from the garden

Grilled chicken with dad's home-made pesto sauce with the basil he grew

On Sunday night I ate dinner at my parent's house and enjoyed a simple meal of home-made pesto pasta with grilled chicken and a salad. My dad made the pesto and chicken, I made the salad and my mom prepared a little bouquet of flowers from her garden in my great grandmother's blue vase. It sounds perfectly rustic, effortlessly chic and so Martha Stewart doesn't it? Well I guess it sort of was, if Martha Stewart's home also has issues with ants and if she eats her perfectly made meals in her pajamas and leaves the dishes dirty while digging into her "thrown together" meal. But the whole thing could not have been more spontaneous, easy or lovely. Nothing was forced or prepared. I noticed my dad's overflowing pot of basil and suggested he use it. We thawed some chicken, used up some veggies for a salad, boiled some pasta. And the flower arrangement? Well while gardening in her sweats my mom decided to FINALLY pick some of the flowers and enjoy the fruits of her and my dad's sweat-filled summer labors. (The two of them can make a yard look like a magical, secret oasis.)

This past weekend was a special weekend for two reasons. Not only did it mark the 10 year anniversary of 9/11, but it also marked the 28 year anniversary of my parent's marriage. (There is no correlation. And luckily, my parent's were married September 10.) Sometimes that is just the way life works: tragedy and beauty coinciding side by side. Loss and growth. I don't think I will ever understand the full extent of what that it meant to be in New York that fateful day or what it meant to lose someone so violently and so abruptly. Nor will I ever fully understand what it means  to have "28 years of marriage" under my belt - until I have been married for 28 years myself. I am only 23 (ahem, 23 and a half thank you very much as of tomorrow) and I don't think I have even been able to commit to a favorite color for that long - let a lone a person. The miracle of my parents staying together is actually no miracle at all. I think they put a lot of work into their marriage but to some extent (and this is what they always tell me whenever I ask them what their secret to being married is) they just married the right person. I don't know what that means. Or how you know. Or how you make it work. I guess I am not supposed to know these things yet. But I do know this: they make each other laugh, they both have faith in God, my dad is 100% committed to my mom and my mom is 100% committed to my dad. And they both honor and value the institution of family above all else. I love those two so darn much and feel immeasurably and unspeakably thankful that I am homegrown from their able arms and careful hands.

When I look back at drawings I did as a child there is one theme in all of my pictures that I drew of my family. Besides the strange stick figure drawings of my family (and my mom with yellow hair) there is always a consistent theme: we are all standing together (love), there is a couch (comfort), there is a sun (warmth), there is a tree (stability and growth) and a window (perspective). My parents have always provided and continue to provide those things to me and my siblings through their commitment to one another. And in honor of September 11, more than anything, I am just glad I have both parents that are alive and breathing and still walking this earth.

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