I’m home from my grandfather’s funeral. I could go on about how wonderful he was, again, but the only thing more uncomfortable than grief is reading about someone else’s. Instead, I’ll go over some life lessons I learned, and next post, I’ll be funny, I promise.
1. If you have never experienced being around a big family, you should. My father has one brother and five sisters, with an age range of 18 years between the oldest and youngest, and in every aspect, it was wonderful to watch them, and consistently left me in awe. In the beginning, as they comforted each other, and got each other through the death of their father. And later, as they cared for their mother. It was almost as if they took their original roles back; there were caretakers, there were those providing comic relief. The common denominator was, though, that they all embodied this strength. The Gorman family is known well in the small town of Fort Fairfield, and for good reason. They have left an everlasting legacy.
Even though I (frequently) admit that raising two children leaves me exhausted and, at times, beleaguered, I found myself wishing I’d experienced the joy of a big family. To be honest, I did not want a second child, but I did not want to deny Hubbin the chance to raise a child from birth, so I had always agreed to have another child. After a painful loss, Hubbin gave me an “out”; that if I didn’t want to try again, he wouldn’t ask me to. It struck me once, though, that if you are an only child, there’s no one else in the world that knows your history. It was then that we decided to try again, and The Little One is the result of that.
Through this trip, I clung to my sister, desperately grateful for not only having each other, but also that my father had that as well. I am grateful daily for my two girls, but was especially grateful in that moment.
2. I’ve always secretly been jealous that my sister was such an easily recognizable Gorman, while I really didn’t look like them. My aunts are beautiful, all beauty queens, and they’re so strong. After the first night, my sister leaned over and told me that I remind her of my youngest aunt, and over the weekend, I watched her; my sister was right. Maybe it’s just that we both have strong traits of a youngest sibling, or maybe it’s that I’m like a Gorman after all. Either way, it was comforting.
3. It’s ok to find comic relief in the small things. Grandma is methodically organized; everything in its place, everything on a schedule. As she talked about Grandpa’s last night, she said “And I went to bed at 9:30 that night, because that’s my bedtime…”. And yesterday, we sat around listening to old stories about the Gorman kids growing up, and at noon sharp, Grandma stood up and said “It’s 12 o’clock, time for lunch!”. That organization must be what enabled her to raise seven productive, successful children. I complimented her hair, which was pushed back in a headband and so pretty, and she said “It’s just a string, dear.” She makes me smile. While Grandpa was the ultimate patriarch, Grandma was the ultimate matriarch; perhaps that’s what made them such an unstoppable team.
4. Random Acts of Kindness exist everywhere; when my sister and I arrived in Presque Isle, Maine, my parents, who had flown to Manchester the day before and driven up, told us that they went through a toll booth and the car in front of them had paid for the two cars behind them. Small, but nice. We had seamless flights there, and a flight attendant on PenAir that was a spitfire. She was just what we needed on the last leg of our trip there, not knowing what we were walking into, not having been to Maine in the winter in 20 years. It was a good trip, considering. Family time is so important, and you don’t realize how much you miss your cousins until you see them again, which we will, in May.
5. My husband is wonderful. Not only did he not blink an eye at the $800 last minute plane ticket, but he stayed home with the kids, took down the decorations (which he knows I always want down ASAP), bought stuff for toy storage that I’d offhandedly mentioned that I wanted, and made sure the house was spotless when I got home. He is a good man, and I am so grateful for him. He is my epic love.