Chaotic Perfection

tie dye on the highway
tie dye on the highway

We went on a family vacation last month. And by family vacation, I mean all of us. And by all of us, I mean the family that hasn’t all spent a week together under the same roof since my sister got married over 25 years ago. So it was my parents, my sister and her husband with their two sons, my brother, and my husband and me with our two daughters. It was an experience — almost all good, some a little bit less than great, but altogether memorable. Everyone brought their own set of strengths, so while my sister took on the role of Head Chef, my brother-in-law was In-House DJ, I acted as Portrait Photographer by taking family photos at the beach, my mother was (as always) All-Around Cheerful Person, and my brother was Craft Professor.

My brother has an amazing brilliance in understanding almost all things that are conceptually difficult to the average person. (Ok, to me. He knows a lot of things that are conceptually difficult to me.) Not only does he have thorough knowledge of many subjects, but he also has an incredible ability to verbally explain these concepts in a patient and comprehensive way. This works great for me because I when my kids have questions like (this happened literally two days ago) “When there’s a blood moon, what makes it appear red?” I’ll fumble my words for a moment or two before spitting out “That’s a great question for your uncle. He’ll definitely know the answer to that…” {wipes a trickle of sweat off forehead}

In preparing for our week on the beach, my brother had the foresight to consider rainy days. In order to keep my daughters busy with an indoor activity, he researched how to make homemade box kites from wooden dowels and garbage bags and bought all the necessary materials. One of the highlights of my week was watching my girls assembling the kites at the large dining room table while my brother calmly explains to them not only how to put it all together, but why this design makes the kite aerodynamically superior.

He also bought a t-shirt for every one of us along with a kit of multicolored dyes. Every one of us had a great time twisting and contorting the shirts into shapes held in place with rubber bands and spent the morning outside strategically applying dye. It was a surprising amount of fun and by the time we were done, we had a display of twelve t-shirts drying in the sun on a fence in the backyard. They all came out awesome, and it was like a Grateful Dead campground minus the patchouli. But there’s nothing like seeing everyone – including my mom – dressed in these shirts that we all made together. It’s like a demented family crest of colorful mismatched chaos. Perfection.

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