Love Your Family - Please
"Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future" Gail Lumet Buckley
Our home is filled with photographs of family, and of friends. Individuals, couples, groups. Candids and posed. Graduations, bar and bat mitzvahs, proms. Soccer games, dance recitals, trips and visits. Babies, kids, teens, adults, seniors. All generations at all ages. Many still with us. Many, sadly, gone.
We're a blended family on my side. But we don't say "half sister" or "step brother." And we just say, "our parents." My older sisters each have two kids, my youngest sister and I have one apiece. My husband's youngest brother also has one. Their middle brother has ten children -- seven girls, three boys. That makes for a lot of pictures.
Everybody loves my Wedding Wall -- group portraits from every wedding in our immediate family, now extended into the third generation. My oldest sister's two children are married now (two kids each). Three of my brother-in-law's daughters are married too (three kids there, another on the way). The Wedding Wall is getting more crowded every year, and I love it.
Then there's my famous Black and White Wall -- family photos going back four, no, Five generations, all black and white, in clear box frames, randomly filling a ten foot expanse of wall painted a deep rich red.
Stiffly posed couples and children in high-button shoes from the late 1800s. Flappers and their Fellas from the 20's. Men in W.W.II uniforms. Kids on the beach in the 30's, 40's and 50's. Bachrach studio portraits of the businessmen. Glam shots of their wives. School photos of the oldest boomers from the 50's and some from the 60's. Oh those mini-shirts and that white lipstick.
Our family and America's history, a testament to changing times, styles, mores, lifestyles and experiences live on that wall, and throughout our house.
Many people have noted that our home is so Visual. Colors, textures, patterns blend and merge with our eclectic art collection, with bold jackets from scores of books, with shifting light and outdoor scenes from the many windows ... and with the inner life reflected, most of all, through photos everywhere. A friend once told me it suits my personality -- wherever I am in our home, I have my friends and loved ones gathered around me.
I would keep them that way in reality if I could. Because life is so precious, the fabric of a family so strong and yet so infinitely delicate. Family members move, divorce, marry, have children, age, die. We've lost more than our share, including two babies, my husband's parents and one sister's husband, far too young.
Amazingly, my parents, in their 80's, are still thriving, though my mother is nearly blind from AMD. One child in the family lives with a congenital heart defect, another a rare form of brain cancer, one adult sister lost a kidney to cancer.
We've lost aunts and cousins and my husband's mother to breast cancer. My best friend is a breast cancer survivor. My youngest sister is almost nine years out from a radical mastectomy.
And today, another sister, widowed three years ago, whose child has the heart condition, found out she has breast cancer too.
My heart hurts. We don't know the prognosis yet, but we're gearing up for the fight, wrapping our love around her and her children. If I could, I would make them all as happy and healthy and strong as they appear in the photographs in my house.
Love your family. Please.
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
The Foundation Fighting Blindness
Cancer Research Fund - VHL Family Alliance
American Heart Association