Ryan and I went to Moab this weekend for his sister's homecoming.
Ryan has 9 kids in his family. Which I made sure to count repeatedly all weekend long. Everywhere we went - I'd find each sibling and count them. Count them in birth order, or by hair color, or by groups of who looks like who, and everytime, it was always 9. And this game was at a higher experience level than it seems because the siblings were intermixed between their spouses, some children, and even an aunt and uncle and one cousin. (which the aunt basically became my best friend, and I have full intentions of getting her phone number to stay friends).
And every time, I'd count them up to 9, and then feel that same sense of surprise each time. 9! That's a lot of people to keep track of. I mean, there's five kids in my family, which is a fair number. But one time for a group photo at my sister's wedding of my family + my dad's side, of which I only have THREE cousins, I was not tracked down. So still to this day, the picture hangs in our upstairs hallway with everyone but me. Not that I really care because I thought of adding a sticky note drawing of myself and a trombone. That would lead people to believe that I wasn't featured because I was on a world orchestra tour. And that is true. Because one could say that for a trip to the bathroom.
But anyway, all of us went to Tusher Tunnel the day before Saren's homecoming. We explored the tunnels, climbed on the rocks, then made sandwiches and ate on the red sand. It was really cool! On the way out, with as many people as could fit in the back of Ryan's truck, he cruised through the rocky terrain, and everyone bounced around and laughed and winced. Then we stopped to observe a rattlesnake that Roger spotted. And through every adventure, I really liked observing all the personalities, and the role each person takes on to balance the family energy, and how each role interplays with all the other roles. The musician, the wild child, the comedian, the leader, the peacekeeper. Every family has a cadence. Like it's one big play, and they all know their part and their lines, and I must quickly pick a role and jump in. So I picked the opera singer, which made for a very interesting weekend for all of them... Just kidding - I picked the prop holder. Which explains why I kept picking up their house plants and standing very still in the corner. Really though, stepping in as the datee, instead of just a regular friend, always induces a mild sense of panic and a forgotten capability of speaking in large groups. I think The Doctors are calling it shyness. I call it Ryan-hold-my-hand-and-spoonfeed-me-Rocky-Road-ice-cream. Which he did exceptionally well.
But really, I very much liked being with Ryan's family - I like all of them a lot, and his parents are incredible people. I really believe someone should write a book series about them because it would be a lot like The Boxcar Children. I'll do it. Starting with the adventure of eating Natalie's homemade carrot spice cake with hidden plastic babies in some pieces to help decipher the gender of her baby.
World, I'd like to be an accountant social psychologist writer, please. Where can I apply?
Also, I need to go back and run all over those red rocks.
Upward and onward,