We need enormous pockets, pockets big enough for our families and our friends, and even the people who aren’t on our lists, people we’ve never met but still want to protect. We need pockets for boroughs and for cities, a pocket that could hold the universe. – Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
When you’re single, a blog is sort of the last place you want a first date to begin. Let him learn of my neuroses in living color rather than post by post, is my modus operandi. Once wed, I’ll do as my married friends do and overshare like crazy. (Isn’t that’s what better or for worse is all about?)
My family is enormous (eleven grandparents makes for a big tree), and when we were kids, my sister and I joked/worried that one day one of us could fall in love with a guy and find out he’s somehow related. We thought about how easy that could be. This world is small. This town even smaller.
It’s the sort of thing that made Carrie Fisher’s one-woman show feel so cozy. I mean, I don’t know from electroshock therapy or being a Pez toy, but I do love Paul Simon and I know about big families. I spent time with mine this Eastover weekend.
(Passover and Easter have a lot in common – one has eggs dipped in chocolate, the other in salt water. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to both and have to just watch everyone else eat them all.)
Saturday night was Passover Asher-Sears style: a bit unconventional, inclusive of all faiths, with lots of room for laughter and loud, barking dogs. Plus, enough food for several small countries. Kind of the way my family does everything.
I was on my thirdish-ish glass of really good kosher wine, thanks to my aunts who discovered it existed (we usually just go for good wine and put out a bottle of Manischewitz as a gesture). I sat there looking around at all sitting at the tables, family and friends, and feeling ridiculously lucky. Swimming in gratitude.
On mom’s side, we have three generations that like to hang out together. Even when it’s not a holiday and there’s no alcohol involved. We work together whenever we get the chance, too.
My BlogHer ’11 photo team was an Asher girls production – my co-shooter was my ridiculously-talented aunt. Our Gal Friday, working round the clock to download memory cards and charge batteries and backup drives? My fabulous mother (who takes a pretty good picture herself). It was the busiest 5 days I’d ever had as a photographer and they made it easy.
I treasure moments like those late nights in San Diego last August, working to get images off for the morning, snacking on the mini-Whole Foods crafts services mom installed in the room when I sent her to stock the mini-fridge for 5 days after learning the hotel didn’t know from allergy-free (I wasn’t take chances while working). We were exhausted and happy after 18 hours of shooting, going through the days images for some gems to send, eating our weight in kettle corn, ready to get up and do it again in another three hours – it was amazing.
The older I get, the less I take these moments for granted.
Not long ago, at my cousins’ at the beach, everyone decided to go for a walk after lunch. (We all live pretty close to one another, most of us.) Stepping from the deck onto the sand, I stopped somewhere between those who’d gone ahead and those trailing behind and snapped a few photos, watching and thinking, Who are these people? How was I lucky enough to be born into this circus?
We’re like our own DIY parade, immediate family members from infants to seniors, including various divorced grandparents with their respective spouses walking en masse along the Pacific coast. A Sunday lunch looks like a family reunion. But it’s just us.
I feel like it’s some karmic treasure, something I did right in another life, because I know the flip of the coin. I know what it’s like to not have these sort of ties. To untie them because they come at a price that’s too high, too unhealthy, too hurtful.
I can’t plan life to go as I hope or assume it will. But I celebrate the incredible people who make my days brighter. Probably not as often as I should, but this weekend, I did. Definitely.
Maybe someday I’ll overshare more and worry less, who knows? Like that Passover wine, sometimes things that seem impossible to turn out well end up unexpectedly good.