Monday, March 06, 2006

Urban Family Ties (What Would We Do, Baby, Without Us. . . )


I just ordered this book, as it seems to have everything to do with me.

I am most definitely part of an urban tribe -- probably several extended families I rely upon for support, love, laughter, and drinking partnership. I have my Susan, my baby sister in name if not in blood. My Ellen, my Sarah (and Chad), all people who I need and love.

I am also a part of the tight-knit group of bitches we call Melrose Place -- two couples, one straight, one gay and one me. Guess I count double.

Melrose place met when we all lived in the same six flat building in Wicker Park. We developed a habit of spending a lot of time together eating, drinking wine (or, in the summer, beer on the front steps), and talking. We're a diverse group, a five-person odd couple. On the surface, JP is handsome and cocky, Rita is beautiful and sweet, Mark is smart and sardonic, Jason is flamboyant and loving.

Underneath, JP is fiercely loyal and searching for connections. Rita is smart, curious and unwavering in her basic principles, Mark is wise, caring, and will never dish you any shit. Jason is a pure soul. Together we've woven a complex tapestry of urban family ties. We have our traditions -- every Sunday night we have dinner together. Once a year we try to go on vacation (most recently, to Mexico for JP and Rita's wedding).

We have been through major life events together -- starting, probably, when I decided to buy a condo, sending shockwaves through the sixflat. We were there when JP and Rita got engaged, we were having Sunday night dinner when the offer on their house was accepted. We're all homeowners now.

When Rita was making a decision about her wedding dress, she took Mark aside. She said, "I bought this dress, and I am not sure if I love it. Please be honest with me." She tried it on, and came into the room.

Mark saw her wearing this white confection, looking radiant (as always), and said, "I wouldn't wear it."

She took it back.

She ultimately found the dress she loved.

Melrose guards me closely -- they don't like it too much when I try to date people, to bring newbies into the mix. They narrow their eyes and ask lots of questions. I find this both endearing and incredibly exasperating. My last relationship Melrose did not approve of. This resulted in my having a teary confrontation at the dinner table, insisting that, "YOU GUYS DON'T GET TO CHOOSE!" Lucky for them, I chose to end that relationship. BUT IT WAS MY CHOICE! MINE! MINE!

It was made clear then that I am the adolescent in this group.

Melrose recently got a new addition -- a little baby boy named Willis. He's JP and Rita's first child -- a black pointer/lab mix. We met him last night and he was duly doted upon. I don't have pictures yet, because I'm a moron and didn't bring my camera to dinner, but I assure you there will be billions in the future. Welcome, Willis.

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