August: Osage County. Probably not the best choice of movie to watch when you’ve got a lot on your mind. I’d remembered seeing this movie out a long time ago in the theaters. It was promoted as being in the theaters. I never actually saw it. Last night, though, we found it at RedBox and decided to rent it. You might have seen this film by now, so you know what I’m talking about. I won’t go into details for those of you who haven’t. Suffice it to say there were several points during the movie at which my mouth was open and my eyes glued to the television in complete silence, and without any movement at all.

Meryl Streep is one of my favorite actresses, but even from her, I wasn’t expecting so much drama. It was intense.

So, of course, afterwards I’m all like “damn, that was too much.” It got me thinking about family and what that single word means. Your brood. The unit you were born into. The people who know you better than anyone, and who can’t just turn their back to you and forget you. I don’t know of anyone who actually has. Because even though you can choose not to speak to one another, or see each other at all, the thing is those memories and ties you’ve built over a lifetime don’t go away.

They’re ingrained in us. As much a part of us as the blood running through our veins.

La sangre llama, we like to say.

La Sangre Llama

August: Osage County

I do believe that. I believe it because I live it. The smallest of details can trigger yearnings inside of me that are so deep I cannot fully understand them. I can see inklings of me and my family in others. Sometimes those encounters are joyous, like when a woman walking a certain way, wearing a certain sweater, grabbing her hair a certain way, reminds me of my sister doing the same. I smile and think about her. Sometimes those encounters can be sad, like when a stranger looks past the person cleaning around them, or pretends they’re not even there, I can’t help but to think of my parents who have spent so many years doing that same work. I see their faces, remember their sacrifice, and feel unbelievably grateful.

Sometimes those encounters can be bittersweet. Not happy. Not sad. Just somewhere in between. Like when a young child reminds me of my younger siblings, the innocence they once had, the way life has a manner of snatching that innocence away from all of us. Those encounters especially are the ones that make you stop and think. Because no matter how much we think we know, no matter how certain we are right now, we can’t ever be certain that we will feel the exact same way tomorrow.

There are blogs posts here, in this very blog, that I can go back and read and not recognize myself. It’s human nature, I tell myself. We all grow, change, evolve. Maybe we do. I’m not all that certain I can trust my own answers anymore. What I do know right now is that family DOES mean “nobody gets left behind.”

We’re not perfect. Every family has their own issues. Far be it for me to claim perfection in my own family. What I do know is that part of growing up is learning to accept the imperfections in those who we love, as well as in ourselves. Family, for me, means making mistakes, saying things at the wrong time, not having the right words to say at the right moments, sitting in complete silence at times, holding one another when there’s nothing else to be done, and most importantly feeling true forgiveness in one’s heart, even when the words “I forgive you” aren’t necessary.

Family, for me, is about feeling happy and at home no matter where we are.

Family, for me, is in the heart.