There’s been some completely unforeseen events in the aftermath of my sister-in-law’s death, but I don’t really want to write about them until they have come to some sort of a conclusion. Unfortunately, I can’t say when that might be. The whole thing has thrown our family for a loop, though.
On a completely unrelated note, I’ve just made it through what I call the Annual Birthday-O-Rama. January 26 is my daughter’s birthday; January 27th is my youngest son’s AND my husband’s birthday; January 28 is my youngest son’s father’s birthday (mercifully, one I no longer have any responsibility for beyond reminding my 21-old-college student to call his father). It’s always crazy, even crazy fun, but on the heels of the holidays is probably more exhausting – to say nothing of expensive – than it would otherwise be if it were, say, in early September.
This year, the birthdays were all in the middle of the week. My daughter spent her day with her significant other and the kids; my youngest spent his with friends at school. My husband left for an extended business trip on his birthday, so we celebrated Tuesday night, which was technically my daughter’s birthday, as well as Wednesday morning (I made him chicken livers for breakfast, which is what he wanted – and if you haven’t figured out that we’re pretty damn weird by this point, I just don’t know what to tell you).
Anyhoo, it was also my youngest’s 21st birthday. Despite the alcoholism that runs rampant in our family (or maybe because of it?) I don’t make a big deal out of booze. When each of the kids reached 18, if they wanted a drink I certainly never denied it. An occasional glass of wine with dinner, or cocktail during the holidays, or beer at a barbecue. So it was nothing new for my son to be able to drink around me, but it was the first time he was able to actually order a drink in public venue.
I picked him up from school on Friday and we went to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. My son worked there, first as a busboy and then as kitchen help, his first couple of years in high school and our waitress is a family friend who was delighted to bring him (and pay for) his first legal drink.
My kids and I all have great relationships – they are close to each other, as well – and we talk about all sorts of things. They also know that things have been tense between me and my husband this last year, and that things seem to be oh-so-gradually smoothing out. At one point during the evening, we discussed my husband’s alcoholism, as well as his marijuana use. Not in a judgmental manner, just as part of our lives; something we deal with. I jokingly brought up how bad the grass he smokes smells.
“Ugh – I know!” replied my son. “He was in the garage smoking while I was home [over the holidays]; I opened the door and told him, ‘Dude – you’re making the kitchen smell like ASS.'”
After I recovered from my bout of hysterical laughter, I asked him how his stepdad reacted; the pre-New Orleans man would NOT have taken that kindly.
My son shrugged and said, “He said, ‘Oops! My bad! Sorry about that!’ and stopped.”
More than once since the trip to New Orleans happened, I’ve wondered what has caused this almost complete 180 in his attitude; now, I don’t care if I never find out. I just don’t want it to end.