In the Making

Cousins, cabins, and Condoleezza Rice.

Posted by cjaxon on November 25, 2010

“Did you know Condoleezza Rice’s mother taught Willie Mays?”
“I think you mean Billie Mays.”
“No, Chas, that’s not the same person. Anyways, she used to let him leave class early to go practice more.”
“It’s so good that she’s admitting that her mother, as a public school teacher, was showing favoritism to the athletes.”
“Well, I feel like that was the least of their concerns during the Civil Rights Movement…

“Do you have a good view of anything?”
“Yeah, you can see straight down the mountain, which I don’t want to do.”

“Quinn, do you want me to change you?”
[in toddler-speak] “I’m still working on it.”

I don’t want to do the typical Thanksgiving post, if there is such a thing, but I feel like I need to update and write something. This year is interesting because for the first time in a long time we’re not having Thanksgiving at home: we’re in Gatlinburg, TN. We’ve done this one other time before, 8 years ago, when I was in eighth grade. Traditions I’m missing out on: seeing old friends, visiting First West, picking out this year’s Christmas Tree. However, this is okay, because we’re in the mountains, I’m sleeping off and on all day, and my mom’s whole side of the family is in one giant cabin (all 24 of us).

It’s interesting to notice how the time spent with The Cousins has changed. Now, “The Cousins” aren’t your average extended family, these are kids that Sarah and I grew up with ten minutes down the road – they’re more like a brother and sisters that lived in a different house. (My mom’s twin sister’s kids.) Back in the day we would play pretend and put on shows, sing along with Disney movies, or build forts and be secret agents. Now we’re all grown up, with Sarah and Spencer in college, and we spend time sipping coffee or sitting in the jacuzzi, talking about those unfathomable subjects: the Future and the Rest of our Lives. Where do I go from here? What are you doing next? How is 26 different from 22? What do I want to do?

In a way, we seem to be growing closer as we grow older and spread farther apart. I think it’s because we know there’s no way to spend as much time together as when we were growing up, so we make sure these times really count. That’s something I’m thankful for.

It’s also kind of cool that there are still little kids running around. We used to be the youngest, before Amy’s family (my mom’s younger sister) started joining us more. Now her kids are grown up and in high school, but our older cousins (my mom’s brother’s daughters) have little kids all their own. Is that confusing enough? The point is, with Grandma here, there are four generations of people, from toddlers, teenagers, twenty-somethings on up. Everyone is different from the last time we were here. Half of them hadn’t joined the family yet, or weren’t even born. And while much has changed about us (where we are, what we do, how we see things) much about us is the same (the way we laugh, and the great food.) I suppose that’s what life and family are, and that’s something I’m thankful for.

.  .  .

Nothing is permanent, nothing stays the same, and everything,

everything,

is temporary.

I’ve been noticing this recently, in another one of those “recurring patterns” kind of things. I’ll think about it some more and let you know what I come up with. For now, let’s just say that Sr. Year once again puts things in a new perspective. We get so attached to different phases of life. I really thought OCU was my school, that I had some kind of lasting place there, that these people I’ve been running around with actually had some kind of importance. And in a way, we do. But in reality, we’re all only passing through. Odds are, in 10 years the students then won’t know we were even here. They’ll feel just as self-important, and pass on through, and life will move on. And that’s okay.

I’m realizing what things and people are actually important, and which ones aren’t. And I only suddenly realized the other day that for the other major milestones in life – starting high school, moving to college, for example – my lifestyle was still going to be much the same on the other side. Come May and graduation, life takes another major change, but this time, everything will be different. There won’t be an 8-4 obligation of classes every day (or, possibly, a job). There won’t be dozens of the same people and familiar places day-in and day-out. For a while, my personal community might shrink drastically. And that’s okay.

That’s just the way it is. It’s only depressing if you try to fight it.

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