The Way It’s Supposed to Be

Well damn it all, I’ve done it again. I’ve over promised and under delivered on this blog once again. I don’t know what it is; time just seems to slip away from me. I swear! I get an idea I want to write about; think on it; turn around and it’s been 3 weeks since I thought about writing. Good Lord, where does the time go?

So let’s see, when I last checked in the Nugget was sitting at about 26 weeks, and we had just gone through a mini scare with preterm contractions. Everything turned out fine; the Wife went on bedrest for 2 weeks, and to my surprise followed every instruction of doing nothing to a T. If you know my Wife, you know that following doctor’s advice is not usually on her to-do list. But this time she was awesome.

The Nugget is now 34 weeks strong. See what I mean about time getting away from me, lol!?! Things have been going swimmingly. Just ask the Wife; the Nugget is swimming all over the place and kicking her insides all about.

One quick note about the scare back during week 25 before I move onto what’s going on in present time…..I wanted to recognize all the wonderful people who came to our aid when the Wife was on bedrest for those 2 weeks. So many wonderful people brought us food, or just came by to say hi to the Wife, and some even came over to keep her company while I was at work. I know I’ve been hard on this area (geographically that is) since we moved here. And I also admit I have spent a lot of time bitching that I don’t have any friends out here, but I have to admit I was wrong on that fact. While I may still not really like living out this way, I know we have wonderful people in our lives out here. And being the cynical kind of person that I unfortunately am from time to time, I thought we would be all on our own, but I am so glad I was proven wrong. Thank you again, I feel truly blessed to know all of you, and you know who you are.

Alright, onto the good stuff. Some really cool stuff has happened in the 9 weeks since we last spoke. I don’t want to bore you with *all* the minute details from every day of the last 9 weeks. Probably the coolest thing that happened was the Wife, Nugget and I braved the dreaded holiday traffic and hit the road to spend Thanksgiving weekend with some of our dear friends, Scott and Alexis Lang, at Scott’s parents house….or, should I say compound. Their house was huge, and absolutely beautiful. We literally had our own wing of the house to hang in, lol, but we didn’t spend much time by ourselves in a separate part of the house….but more on that in a bit.

We recently became acquainted with Scott’s family this past August at Scott and Alexis’ wedding weekend. The family consists of 2 main parts; so naturally you can’t mention one without out mentioning the other. They are the Lang’s and the Sandelowsky’s. Both families are anchored together by Scott’s mom Marilyn, the eldest of the Sandelowsky siblings, and the matriarch of the Lang’s….that kind of makes her the Don Corleone of this family, lol. Both factions of this one giant family boast a bevy of unique personalities. No one gets lost in the shuffle of the family; every person stands out well on their own. They were instantly taken by the Wife and myself (along with the Nugget).

Marilyn and her husband Ken (Scott’s dad, aka Chief) invited us to come spend the Thanksgiving holiday with the Lang faction of the family (the Sandelowsky arm of the family lives in Atlanta); so off to Long Island we went. The whole trip the Wife and I wondered if we had made the right choice because the traffic was absolutely horrible, and sitting in 8 hours of traffic with a 7.5 month pregnant woman is no treat…..just sayin’.

Once we arrived though, all the travel woes were forgotten. We were instantly embraced by hugs and well wishes by everyone….which in the Lang world is an everyday greeting, and I loved every bit of it. We were jokingly warned by everyone at the Lang compound that their household was enveloped by a “Time Vortex” where time and space cease to exist. Meaning that we would find ourselves having so much fun that we would lose track of time all together, finding ourselves not going to bed until odd hours in the morning, forgetting what day it was altogether; seemingly days, weeks, even years could pass and we would never know it.

In all seriousness, they were right. I scoffed at the Time Vortex comment as if it were a joke. But every night we were eating later and later, and going to bed at hours I rarely experience anymore, as I am an old fuddy duddy now. Proof is my use of the term “fuddy duddy” as a legitimate use of explanation, lol. Even the Wife was staying up until hours of 12am and 1am before heading off to bed. I barely see the woman stay up past 9:30pm anymore before nearly collapsing in a state of sheer exhaustion brought on by pregnancy. It was crazy. And it’s not like she was barely making it and just hanging on for the sake of the rest of us, she was having fun engaging everyone else.

The weekend was an absolute blast filled with laughter and love all the way around. Seeing how the Lang/Sandelowsky family functions; on pure love and respect for one another, really opened my eyes. I wouldn’t believe these people were for real, or at least not medicated in some form or another, if I hadn’t seen for myself. I mean, I judge family interactions solely based on my experiences growing up. My family was nothing like this family. For me, our family treated functions and get-togethers as the opportune time to attack and cut each other down.

Having attended 2 Lang/Sandelowsky family functions I couldn’t help but be struck by the question, “Why are they so different from my family?” Why did the time spent with this family feel so…..different, weird even? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s because this family actually likes being around each other. Their love for one another is so genuine that it can’t be described. So realizing that, you can’t help but realize the flip side of that equation; my family didn’t love each other. Hell, they didn’t even like one another.

I don’t say these comments about my family to get some kind of sympathy or some pity for my upbringing, I have always been pretty self-aware about my family, it’s simply to illustrate how much this other family is so different. And why are they different? Because the norm these days is like my family. Families these days go out of their way to avoid each other. They fight, they steal, they lie, and they tear each other down at the most opportune time for themselves. Most of all, they dread spending one iota of time together, and when they do they feel drained and depleted for having done so. The Lang/Sandelowsky’s, are the exact opposite. They crave each other’s company. They feel all those negative feelings when they don’t get to see each other. They “REALLY” love one another. But all this, isn’t even the best part about them.

Watching this family function; watching them spread all the love in the world amongst each other was good enough for me. I mean, because this perfect family couldn’t get any more perfect right……right? Well of course they can. They don’t just hold that love amongst themselves; they go out of their way to welcome everyone. They want everyone they come in contact with to know what it feels like to be loved. And to some this could seem, a bit overwhelming. Scott and I had a long conversation during his weekend about how women he had dated in the past felt smothered by the love and affection shown by his family. It’s unfortunate that we have become jaded in our society that we would stay by a family who doesn’t like one another, yet when you come in contact with a family who literally welcomes you with open arms (even when you wake up in the morning and walk downstairs for breakfast, lol), you would rather run for the hills. At first I could see where those kinds of people were coming from, but the more I thought about it I finally came to the conclusion that those people are weak. They’re weak in their own heart. They’re scared to be loved. Well, not this guy. I jumped in with both feet. I will never look back.

I mentioned earlier that both arms of the family – they literally are like arms because they envelope you like a gigantic hug – had taken to the Wife and I over the wedding weekend. First, Beth (the matriarch of the Sandelowsky arm) claimed she was going to adopt me as her 3rd son. This was partly because how well her sons (Marcus and Ben) and I just gelled…especially Ben. As everyone said, he and I developed a bromance over the wedding weekend, lol. But in the end Marilyn pulled rank and she wanted to adopt me to the Lang’s first….that’s the G-Money Don status right there. And yes, I kissed her ring and pledged my undying support for life, lol. But it wasn’t until the Thanksgiving weekend that the Wife and I found out how much the love extended to us.

As we sat down to eat, Ken gave the typical Dad-Speech for a Thanksgiving gathering welcoming everyone to the table, and their house. Then as we were getting ready to eat he said he had one last thing to present. Ken, being the unofficial Mayor of Long Island (as described by Scott) and Marilyn presented me and the Wife with a framed Certificate of Adoption into the Lang/Sandelowsky family. As Ken put it, “This is forever proof that Stephanie and Michael, and all their future progeny are forever welcome into the Lang/Sandelowsky family. And will forever be welcome and loved here forth.” I was totally caught off guard. It was the nicest gift anyone has ever given me, and I can’t wait to display it proudly in the Nugget’s room when he is born….and then later in my Man-Cave when we get a house, lol.

Let me clarify some things before anyone takes that last paragraph out of context. Did we “actually” get adopted into this family; do we now have some kind of claim on any family assets, or rights to decisions? No, of course not, but that kind of sums up what I’ve been getting at this whole time. None of that shit actually matters when it comes to family. It’s not about the money, or the claims, or the name, or even your bloodline….it’s all about family love. I used to be so down because of the realization that my family situation sucked so much, and that they were the only family I would ever have. Not true. I have discovered that family is not only about who you were born into…in fact, in my case, that means very little to me, it’s about the people I choose to spend my time with. It’s about the people I choose to call my family. It’s about who I choose…period. And of course, it’s about the loving people who choose to welcome me into their family.

They say that you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family. I call BS on that. You can totally pick your family. Whatever you do with your nose is your own business.

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