Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Family tradition

The summer between my second and third years of law school, I was living at home while I worked at the State Department.  Josh was home from college, and Sam was still in high school.  Sam was playing in a summer baseball league.  And my parents and Josh and I went to every single one of his games.  Usually there were 8 or 9 people in the stands for Sam's team.  And we made up 4 of them.  Meaning that most of the kids had no one there to watch them or cheer them on.

I found that baffling.  

It was never a question that we would be there to witness and applaud each others' accomplishments.  My plays and diving meets.  Josh's baseball and football and rugby games.  Sam's baseball and football and rugby games.  I used to drive the 5 1/2 hours up from Winston-Salem to northern Virginia to see Sam's high school games, particularly when his team made it to the state championships.  Or drive to nearby colleges when Josh's college rugby team had matches.

And of course, we were all at Sam's gig this past weekend.

The past weekend in New York was wonderful.  It was snowing when I woke up Friday morning, but I made it to the airport and my flight took off on time with no problems.  My brother Josh took the train down to NYC from New Hampshire.  We met up on Friday afternoon and made our way to Sam's gig.  
Sam and his band onstage at Drom Friday night

The gig was incredible.  Sam's voice sounded great, and his band is comprised of amazingly accomplished musicians.  The songs (all written by Sam) sounded terrific, the arrangements were outstanding, and the energy in the club was through the roof.  A number of my parents' friends that live in New York showed up.  A ton of Sam's friends also came, many from out of town, so he was feeling the love.  We all were.

Saturday was one of those gorgeous spring days when it seems like New York City is the perfect place to be.  We had breakfast at a diner, then took a long walk through Central Park.  People were out walking, jogging, playing fetch with their dogs, rowing boats in the pond, sunbathing. 

We stopped and had a rest at a coffee shop.  

I went downtown to meet my friend Anne, who writes A Good American Wife.  I had never met her, but because we've struck up an internet friendship through our blogs and our mutual friend, Elizabeth, it was like we had known each other forever.  We sat in a park and shot the shit and chatted with the guys that play speed chess.  

Then I headed down to the Battery to meet up with the family again.  A friend of a friend of my dad's is an architect involved in a new art installation in the newly rebuilt South Ferry subway stop, and we were invited to be part of a private tour explaining the installation, how it was made, what it symbolizes, how it was installed, etc.

From there, we took the train up to Lincoln Center to go to the movies.  We chilled in the Barnes and Noble for awhile, and then went to the theater.

After the show, we went to a wonderful Indian restaurant for dinner.

Then we went to our respective beds and collapsed.

Sunday was calmer.  Josh had an early train, so I didn't see him.  After breakfast, we went to Zabar's so my mom could get some bread, and them my parents headed back to D.C.  Sam and I went for a walk by the river, and then hung out at his place until it was time for me to leave for the airport.  I was too tired to do anything else.

Some of the people at Sam's gig expressed amazement that the whole family came in to watch him play.  But it's just what we do.  Some of it may be a factor of moving around so much when we were growing up.  In every new place, we had to rely on each other for both support and companionship, because for a while, we were the only ones we knew.  When we were overseas, my brothers and I all went to the same school.  

But the truth is, plenty of my friends grew up the same way, and many of them had (and continue to have) fucked up family dynamics that bear no resemblance to ours.

So maybe we're just blessed.  We have great parents who have a great relationship who showered us with affection and blew sunshine up our asses from the day we were born.  Josh and Sam and I each went through typical sullen teenager phases, but they passed fairly quickly, and we remain close and supportive.  Though its more difficult now with busy schedules and children thrown into the mix, we make an effort to get the whole family together when we can -- for Thanksgiving, for summer vacations at the beach, whatever.  And we truly enjoy each others' company.

Again, I am a lucky woman.


  1. Aww - that's great you and your family are there to support one another. Isn't family great? I love the new photo on your blog of each of you on the slopes!

  2. Thanks! I keep thinking I should change the URL from "wendyandjasongotohawaii" to something else, but right now it's more of a pain in the ass than I'm willing to endure.

  3. It was so great meeting you. I'm only sorry I couldn't make Sam's gig. I'm going to try and get on his mailing list for next time.

    Your family is amazing. Now that I have a son of my own, I realize the importance of blowing sunshine up your kid's ass!

  4. I'm sooooooo glad you two got to hang out! I wish I could have been there, too! But how fun! I love the internets!

    And I'm so glad you got to your brother's gig. You know, we grew up doing that, too. We all (mom, brother, sister and I) showed up for each other. That's just what you do!

    (the sunshine blowing...not all that much...but it all worked out anyway!)


  5. Also, don't change your url...we all know it...plus it's fun and has history...
    (when we're out of here, I'm still going to keep Striped Socks, etc...)

  6. yeah, it was an awesome time and so glad that we had the weekend together.
    i actually coached Sam's baseball team that summer. Tha was my reason for bring there at every game.

  7. The blowing of the sunshine is a wonderful thing. But can also have its drawbacks. Sam once remarked that the world was that much harsher after growing up in an environment in which everyone constantly told you how wonderful you were. But I'll take it over the alternative.

  8. My parents were at every game, every awards banquet and nearly every concert (I know they skipped a couple and I don't blame them. zzzz). My best friend's mom maybe came to 1 or 2 games per sport per season. I couldn't understand why her mom didn't support her more but she took it in stride.

    Now my parents (and I) attend my son's functions and even my niece's even though she's an hour away. Really, it's just what you do. If I'm a sunshine blower, then so be it. :)

    I read Anne and Elizabeth's blogs, too. I enjoy all of you!

  9. Susan O.12:30 PM

    Wendai- I'm thinking the moving around has to have something to do with it - my family is the same... I'm almost 40 and have still not spent Christmas w/out my parents and my older sister- my younger sister was away one year but that's it! Love close families!