When I was little, I remember this cartoon that my grandmother had drawn of the family (her, my grandfather, my father, and his siblings), and thinking that it must have been one crazy household. I’m not saying my household, either then or today ISN’T crazy, of course…but what I am saying is that I remember being an only child and wondering what kind of a three-ring circus it must be to have so many people in one house.
My grandfather heads up the upper left corner. Proclaiming, “I’m sick of it!,” he has taken his belt off, ostensibly to beat someone with it. Over the years, I heard many stories of his temper (especially because my father had sworn never to lay a hand on me), but to me, he was always “Grampi,” the big, fat, laughing Buddha, always happy to see me.
My father is to his right, having come home from wherever he had been (college, perhaps?), with suitcases in his hand, asking, “What’s for dinner?” I’m assuming that phrase annoyed my grandmother as much as it annoyed my father, ironically, when I asked him that very same question every night growing up. (My dad’s answer was never-changing: “Food.” When I would ask, “What kind of food?” he would reply, “Good food.”)
My uncle Christopher, clearly a beanpole at this stage of life, says only “Hoodly-oodley-hoo!,” to which my aunt Maggie replies, “Get out of here, you little creep!” Ah, what a loving brother/sister relationship. Aunt Nina, the baby of the bunch, asks, “Why does Tommy always kiss me?” I guess she was the pretty one in the family? Everyone says I look like her, so clearly she must have been.
But in the center of all of this, my grandmother stands with a mop and pail, exclaiming, “Too much to do!” And that is how I feel today: everyone around me is in their own world, but I’ve been sitting here with my virtual mop and pail (otherwise known as Word and Excel) and the more I cross off on my to-do list, the more it gets inexorably longer.
My New Year’s resolution? To try to find a balance between being the helpful, organized person that I am and actually having a life. We’ll see how well I can stick to it.