Saturday, July 10, 2010

He Wants to Spoon...And I Feel Like a Fork

I know it's me and not him, but I can't help wanting it to be him.  We are finally in the same state (something that hasn't been consistent since April).  Granted, it is not our home state, but it is the same.  What is hard, at the moment, is that I probably talked to him more when we were in separate states, than I have since we got here.  His phone is broken and his work schedule is the same.  He is comfortable to fall asleep, as long as I am sitting next to him, and when we are not acting like an old couple dozing on the couch, I am running around trying to catch up with friends. 

I knew it was going to be like this.  It is like this every summer.  The twenty-hour work days are still the twenty-hour work days and when I look in my rear view mirror, there are still three little faces who depend on me to feed them and keep them busy.

I'm not sure why I feel so differently this year.  The romantic buzz about this summer business is no longer all that romantic.  It is wearing on both of us, and I just know that something is going to give. Part of me is terrified to put a stick in the spokes of these out-of-control wheels, but I know the crazy ride has to end. I fear we'll all get up from the fall with scrapes and bruises that may take a while to heal. 

Dealing with bandages in a full-family transitional recovery still sounds better than what I am trying to do now.  I don't want to be the fork in the bed.  I can feel my body posture tightening when the couch sleeping moves to the bed for sleep, and I cringe at the idea of spooning like we usually do.  I am not in a spooning state of mind.  I have some typical women tendencies I guess:  when I am not in a good emotional state I guard my  physical self too.  It is not how I feel about my husband, our marriage, or our life, but I am finding it difficult to soften the prongs into a spoon, and it may take something drastic to balance us out again. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Family Reunion...A Celebration of Marriage

 There was a migration of hundreds of McGuires last weekend, and all because of Richard P. McGuire and his wife Margaret.  Every five years, the family descends upon the small farming community of Wisner, Nebraska.  The weekend is spent  connecting with immediate and extended family, relearning or being introduced to the history that defines us, and feeling genuinely connected to something much bigger than any of us.

At the Sunday Mass, a couple from another branch of our family celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary.  We were all witness to the renewal of their vows, and for me, it was one of the more touching moments of the day.  Sixty years!!  Are you kidding?  It reminded me that no one in that room would have been sitting there had it not been for the decision by Richard P. McGuire to marry Margaret McMahon.  In six short generations, there are enough people to fill an auditorium every five years.

The family operates on a constantly changing bell curve.  The older generations are smaller each time while the younger generations often grow with marriages and children.  The generation pictured below is the fourth generation.  This is the group that should include my dad, but he was not there and, barring a miracle,  he will likely never be able to attend another one of the McGuire reunions.  For me, my closer connections are my dad's four brothers.  It is through them I feel woven into this group.  It is through them that my son learned about who his grandfather used to be, and it is though them that I will forever have pride in my Irish family.

I don't imagine that R.P. and Margaret were perfect, nor that their children led lives free of mistake, but I took several minutes over the weekend to look around at the room they had created, and I couldn't help but to think that they had done something right.  They loved well enough, they passed down a strong pride in heritage and the people in that room had an air of open generosity that is well-worth celebrating.

My brother, (pictured below) and his wife are expecting their first child, and he/she will be the only "McGuire" baby in my immediate family.  As my brother stood and contemplated the headstone of his great-great grandfather, I said a short prayer in thanks for all that marriage can do.

The marriage of my great-great- grandparents is ultimately responsible for my children.  How could I ignore what that means?  I am so grateful for the willingness of this family to continue to gather.  How else could I foster in my kids the kind of pride that encourages Big Sprout to sport an "I'm proud to be Irish" button while embracing his second-cousin-once-removed (or however he's related to the son of my dad's first cousin)?
It was a wonderful reunion and I think we all feel a bit more grounded after the McGuire reunion weekends.  I recognize the miracle of those who remain and continue to want to organize, but I celebrate the power of marriage to do wondrously miraculous things too.