Defining “family” when there’s a divorce

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As a child I remember spending time with relatives and mentally drawing the family tree while everyone played cards and mixed cocktails and cheered for Auburn. These hilarious and super accomplished women are my mom’s first cousins. Their kids are my second cousins. Mom’s sister’s husband’s nieces are my cousins by marriage.

We had a couple of divorces in my family, and sometimes the “related by marriage” person would appear again at a funeral or wedding. But for the most part, in those cases, they drifted away from the rest of our group. I didn’t think about those folks’ relationship to me.

Sometimes it has to be that way, and I don’t judge any families in which that is the case.

But divorce does not have to split a family.

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Things That Keep Me Up At Night: From Bro-Oprahs to Convenience Marriages to Feminists’ Daughters

Here is a partial list of themes I keep thinking I’ll turn into a blog post, novel or at least a Facebook rant. Maybe you all can help me figure out what to do with them.

In no particular order:

1. Whether people in a position to hear other people’s secrets (priests, therapists, flings) have a more compassionate, or more jaded view of mankind. Related: whether you need to know someone’s secrets to really know them.

2. Young, bro-Oprah types who seem to be trying to “help people” as writers / speakers who talk about themselves a whole lot. On Twitter, at conferences, in blog posts about blogging, etc. (Are they underemployed? Looking for girlfriends? A mystery.)

3. Writing a performance review for your life. Not your work life. Your whole life. What would your goals be? How would you measure success? How would your kids, friends, doctor, neighbors rate you?

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On being photographed with a cocktail in hand

In her family, people fought bravely with addiction and depression. They made gut-wrenching personal decisions and accepted tough financial times with graceful humility for the good of their children.

His family was full of drunks and crazy people. They had abortions and lived off food stamps. Continue reading

Raining on July 4? No worries, Nashville. We got this.

Aw, Nashville. I know it’s raining on cookout and fireworks day, but there are still fun inside things to do. I’ve created a short itinerary of patriotic-ish ones, all of which I’ve done myself so you know they’re worth writing home about. Or at least posting something on Twitter.

Some ideas… Continue reading