Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is the Way We Do: Holiday Edition

What is accomplished during the holidays?
We check each others' bodies for gross changes. We explain to each other the thickening lenses of our glasses, the weight lost or gained, the blood sugar levels, the cholesterol. We are amazed for each other by time's dragging pull on our weak, soft flesh. We check for gray hairs, doubled chins. We notice the humped upper backs on our parents, their diminishing stature. We repeat to each other anecdotes and family received wisdom. We check each others' children for common familial genetic traits: tongue-rolling, round or flat buttocks, the curved arc of flesh inside the knee. We discuss the emerging character of each others' children. We boast about our own kids, while looking for the secret negatives in our siblings' broods. We seek to vindicate our parenting style. We try to convey the highlights of the past year or month to each other; in seeking to explain our life, others take our words as advice, assume we are recommending it as the single righteous path to happiness. It's not. It's just what we've found out so far, our own singular take.
My story is no self-help book.

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