families are like fudge... or is it fondue?

our motley crew

my mom (second from left) is leaving for europe in a few days, so we all gathered for dinner tonight to celebrate my upcoming birthday. my mom always gives me the sweetest cards which only aid in my joking that i am the most beloved of all the girls. so, i opened my birthday card from mom and it was one of those typically sweet mother/daughter cards with little sectional blurbs spaced around a floral motif with little hearts on the cover. each section describing lovely attributes of the daughter (me) from the mother's perspective, i get to the second blurb and it states: "who is wise beyond her years". i paused, darting my eyes suspiciously at my mom who has that look on her face. it's the same look she has when she's up to something or trying not to give something away. (am i being punkd?) i am a lot of things, but wise beyond my years ain't one of them. i read it out loud to provoke a response [read: laughter] from everyone else, looked directly at my mom and said, "what? was this the last card left in the 'birthday for daughter' section?". i reluctantly read the rest of the card, which had a few more accurate blurbs, then reread the "wise beyond her years" blurb out loud again so we could all have another laugh. "seriously, mom, you know that's a load of crap". i theorize out loud that perhaps it was leftover from one of the other girls' birthdays. you know, maybe she accidentally bought two for desiree or just pulled the wrong one out of her card keeper. maybe this is carol's card and come december, carol's going to get mine - the one that doesn't allude to profound wisdom. we all jokingly hypothesize about the possible reasons and scenarious that could've led to my mother giving me this card. "well..." she finally confesses, "i didn't pick it out." i'm gasping in contrived horror as carol starts chiming in about how they were at the store earlier today, mother was picking up something else, emma was interrupting and they were pressed for time, yadayadayada. [aha. and just like that, the truth comes out.] hilarious. second most hilarious was the card from my sister which had a fancy, dolled-up cartoon monkey sashaying on the front and two other monkeys onlooking, one saying to the other: "look at miss fancypants in her dolce and banana". emma's die cut sponge bob comes in a close third. :) we had a fabulous time and after the smorgasborg, each felt like templeton after the fair.

there is an adorable saying that: "families are like fudge: mostly sweet with a few nuts". i don't know who originated this particular phrase, but had they met my family, they would've likely chosen to forgo fudge altogether and expand on the analogy of nuts. it's funny how the things i once found completely mortifying about my family during childhood and adolescence, i find endearing in adulthood.

it seems with each step i take on the path through adulthood, the more compassion and understanding i have for those who have trekked before me. i began this journey with such blind indignation, convinced that i would do things differently and by differently, i mean perfectly. i didn't know exactly what this meant, of course, but that wouldn't stop my futile pursuit of idealistic normalcy. admittedly, i spent entirely too much time and energy compiling the exterior of my life and not enough... okay, zero... time on the interior. much like building a house on proverbial sand. or really, much more like the buildings that line the streets of universal studios in orlando. i have a photo of myself sitting on the front steps of one of them. it appears to be a brownstone building, strikingly similar to the one that the huxtables lived in on the cosby show. the front has all of the architectural and three dimensional details. looking at the photo - even sitting on the staircase - there is no indication that it's only a beautiful facade.

when cardboard shards fell down around me, i was exposed and vulnerable. i desperately needed to be loved for who i was - or perhaps, in spite of who i had been. only family can fulfill such obligation and i knew, i had to learn to do the same. coming to terms with my own [plethora] of imperfections made it easier - not to simply accept the imperfections of others or love in spite of them - but to love because of them; to love for who they are. exactly the way they are. that is the essence of family. and also of unconditional love.

our experiences. our regrets. our triumphs. our failures. in the life of a family, they become ingredients poured into our own unique communal melting pot. like fondue. much more like fondue than fudge.


  1. Lattie,
    I love it. LOVE this post. LOVE Rachel and her raw honesty.


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