As you get older, you realize the importance of family over all else.
Older people tell you that – and then one day – you’re 28, and it’s true.
And it’s the realest thing ever. There really is nothing more real than that.
We live in a crazy world. A world that moves so fast.
A world full of love and hate; life and death; joy and fear; sadness and happiness; hope and despair. And everything imaginable in-between.
I do not know the nature of life. I don’t know what happens after life.
I do not know why we are here.
But I do know that I was created.
Like you, I came from my mother’s womb, naked and crying. That’s all that life guaranteed me. The rest was purely good-fortune.
I realize that I was lucky to have people waiting for me who loved me and did their best to raise me.
The older I get, the more I appreciate that. Just the fact that I have a family.
Not all of us are that fortunate.
Beyond the fact that I was lucky enough just to have parents around at all, I hit the lottery in that I know what unconditional love feels like.
No – I didn’t grow up in a Brady Bunch household.
There were struggles that I am only now coming to understand. But I get that I was lucky through it all.
Who among us can claim to have a perfect family.
We can ALL claim to have a fucked-up family in the way that all families are fucked-up in their own way. That’s just called life.
And that’s family. It’s messy. It’s not the superficial social experience of friendship. There’s no hanging out on a good day and being invisible when it’s convenient. There is no filter, and there is no choosing what you get to keep private.
It is people at their best and at their complete worst. It’s phone calls at 2 am, and crying all night, and the worst birthday ever.
And all too often, it’s the worst that we remember; for what is more emotionally charged than family. What cuts deeper.
But it’s also the times your dad took you fishing. When he made lunch for just the two of you and you watched a movie that you can’t even remember, but you remember the taste of pringles chips and a can of coke. Or when you walked out on the pier during a huge storm together.
It’s when your mom snuck you a few extra bucks for lunch even though times were tight. It’s when she made you a burger on the stove at 1 am and watched sleepless in Seattle with you. It’s when she got you dressed and you went for a walk with her in the middle of the biggest El Niño in 15 years.
It’s every day my sister has ever been alive.
What is sweeter.
I know of no greater love.
I want to call all of my family right now and just cry. Just tell them that I am sorry that my head is always somewhere else and I’m sorry that life has for a long time overshadowed that.
I love my family. They are the most wonderful people I have ever known. They are everything I stand for and believe about the world. And that’s the greatest gift that life has given me.
I know that none of us will be around forever. But I promise to pass on every fucked-up and beautiful thing about this family of mine. I promise to carry on my dad’s passion, and his love of the sea. I promise to carry on my mom’s poetic heart. I promise to carry on my sister’s everlasting love and dedication.
Thy eternal summer shall not fade.
I’m rededicating my life right now to family. Past, present, for now, and forever.
This is my raison d’être.