Monday, September 14, 2009

try again

Well, tomorrow we try again. We will pack Martin's lunch and take him off to school, wondering if we'll get a call mid-day to take the poor kid home. There was no school today. Where I live, the county fair gets local children out of school for the day. So tomorrow is our first day back after a much needed weekend.

This weekend was an eventful one at our house. My parents and two of my uncles traveled here from Indiana. We had a big task set before us: insulating our humongous and drafty attic. My dad and his brothers can do anything with their hands. They build stuff and fix stuff. When my father mentioned to his brothers that he planned to come out here to help us with this project, they volunteered to come along. Just like that. All I had to do was provide a place for them to sleep and cook them meals that had ample meat and weren't too spicy. I love my uncles. Not only did they help us rebuild the attic floor and blow 48 bags of insulation into that cavernous space, they just hung out here with us. They ate with us and chatted with us and reminisced with us. Their presence here is all I could point to if someone asked me to define "family."

It helps me to see my life - and our struggles with Martin - in light of my family's longer story. Every generation that I have known has had its share of pains, yet they all keep eating a lot of ice cream and laughing at jokes. My grandfather left the Amish during his 40s, jeopardizing all his close relationships. One of my uncles has a terrible struggle with diabetes. He has lost one of his feet. My cousin gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome a month after a big family reunion last summer. Despite these difficulties, my people not only laugh and eat ice cream, they keep having babies. At the aforementioned family reunion - a gathering that included my father's siblings, their kids, and their grandkids - there were seven babies under the age of one.

My uncles remind me to be hopeful, that everyone has pain, and that there is always ice cream and uncles to help you get through it. Thank you, Vernon! Thank you, Danny!

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