Today is an interesting day. I have to clean all my clothes that have been sitting around for 3 weeks while I was away. Some of these clothes were at Warrior Dash Maryland with me, some finished my last week at Red Frog with me, and some even survived the trip to Arkansas and back this past weekend. With great traveling comes terrible laundry as a side effect.
Yesterday, Jaclyn and I rolled into Chicago just in time to attend a family get together. She was excited; however it was my first time meeting her family so I was a bit nervous. I thought I would be walking into about 5 or so people, boy was I wrong. This woman has a big family and they are all pretty close. I have about 5 ppl in my family total so to open the door and see about 25 people I knew I was in trouble. I shook hands with the masses and most of them seem interested in the strange southerner who talked funny. It is good I'm with Jaclyn because when I am feeling a bit shy, well she never has a problem talking. I met the cousins, Nancy, Betsy, and their husbands were extremely nice and welcoming. They all had a habit of picking on Jaclyn (which I also enjoy). I am sure it is only to keep her ego in check. The funny thing about Jaclyn is she will tell you (quite often) just how funny she is and how she is the favorite. It's easier to go along with these wild claims than it is to open the floor for debate, so be it.
I met her father which is always a landmark for a boyfriend. He asked me if I liked dogs, I said yes, and he seemed to appreciate me from that point on. John, had a very dynamic personality, he reminded me a bit of one of those sitcom Dads. He was very persistent that Jaclyn and I come visit, so when I get a first break from traveling I'll have to make that a priority. He showed up after the reunion was over (working) and mentioned he had missed a lot of family functions and events over the years. It is funny how aging men revert to a softer state of being and lose the fear of being sentimental and loving. As if toughness and work ethic were the only things bred into the baby boomers. It is sad how many people choose or are forced to choose work or careers over family. There is no price tag on that moment your son steps up to bat or your daughter nails her first free throw. The opportunity cost of being with family has to be minimized. You won't think about the 5000 dollar wedding ring, or the 60,000 Lexus, but you will reflect on what you experienced and so will your family. I believe generation X is moving the emphasis back to the family, and I hope it stays that way. This is all simply my opinion though. I'd rather be poor and rich in experience than wealthy and poor in time (I realize thats easier said then done). So, John looked at me and said bring my daughter to visit. He was smart to put me in charge, because I really didn't want to let the guy down, he seemed entirely to sincere for me to not take it genuinely. His main focus appeared on being courteous and kind. He said he already liked me better than Jaclyn's exes, (This man is serious about his dog.) So honey, when I get back pack a lunch were gonna go visit pops for a day.
The real prize in Jaclyn's family is the brother. This guy has a heart of gold, loves old cars, rides motorcycles, doesn't give a damn about silver and gold, would give you his last beer, and hates going into the city. There is nothing about this guy not to like. He has a 12 yr old daughter named Samantha who has all the wit of a recent ivy league graduate, and the fearlessness to not hide it. She commonly outsmarts Jaclyn which is always a treat! Their family dog is a Doberman who rarely loses a game of tug o war. I do like trekking into the city for dinner and a show but I can really appreciate Sherman's (the brother) retro style and stern yet relaxed attitude. This is one of those guys you want on your side when things get rough.
Now today is bittersweet! I pack my things to start my new Job in Wisconsin. It is a job doing therapy with kids that uses the outdoors as a therapeutic method. I was an activity therapist once before, it is a rewarding job yet stressful. I have always felt that nature was the best place to relax and reset the mind so I am eager to learn all about their program. I've been in a bit of a hurry to leave the city but I am also a bit attached to my new Yankee family here, and I value my time with Jaclyn as if each moment was worth a thousand bucks. I have big dreams that have at times come true so I have faith this will all work out. I am wondering how Jaclyn would make it as an mountain woman. I try to enhance the image with thoughts of lemonade, hammocks, and homey cabins.
There is a lot of places to go, people to meet, and work to be done. I am eager to open this chapter but not to leave the Chicago family behind. I will find out my new schedule soon which should relieve any tension I have anyway. Juggling two family's, a girl friend, and all my friends will be quite a challenge. Thank God for technology!
I will update you all from Wisconsin tomorrow.
Please ignore any grammar or punctuation mistakes as it early and I have yet to have any coffee.