Friday, April 02, 2004

Extending Family

A nice, little family lives in the green house to the right of my parent's home. Whenever we visit my folks, our boys play together in the backyard. Last month, the nice, little family told us that they are moving back to Greece to be closer to family. They find it too difficult to raise their two boys on their own. They want the support and community of a big extended family.

I understand. Raising kids is an enormous amount of work, especially if you are on your own. Once a week, I get together with my sister and her kids or stop by my mother's. It's so much easier. Our kids play together in the backyard. The kids entertain each other. We cook a meal or order pizza together. When we're sick, my mom comes by a pot of chicken soup.

Sure that means that our lives are open to scrunity. My mom can't help but make comments that I shouldn't be letting Jonah wear the grubby panda shirt to school or that Ian should not be allowed to come into bed with us. The pot of soup is heavily seasoned with guilt.

But when there's a crisis, the family circles the wagons and protects the injured party. There is a hundred percent of support and open wallets to remedy the situation. And when there's cause for celebration, we do it up properly without jealousy or restraint.

I've certainly taken my extended family for granted over the years. Even escaping to Chicago for a couple of years for some relief. But now that I have my own family, I can understand why the nice, little family is moving closer to their relatives. Even if our parents, sisters, and cousins drive us crazy, we need 'em.


I've been thinking a lot about Fallujah, even if I haven't been writing about it. I've been trying to get my mind around the mob that hung charred corpses from a bridge. Read Megan McArdle's amazingly sane assessment of the event.

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