I apologize. I’ve been unfaithful. I fully submerged myself in the 4th of July and my family reunion, making the executive decision that those things were way more important than my three cents on living alone and dating. I have it on pretty good authority no one lost any sleep over it, so I pray my apology is sufficient. I’m pretty sure 90% of the people who read this regularly were there anyway…and THANK YOU for doing so! On that note, is there anything better in life as an adult than getting mail that isn’t a bill, a loan offer or pre-approval for a credit card?! The answer is no. Actual real mail is one of the most magical things you could hope for outside of discovering money you didn’t know you had. Send people cards. Always. I still get stationary every year for Christmas because I still write letters because it’s the RIGHT THING TO DO. I’ll keep letters and books alive and well as long as I can – they are too beautiful to let go. Never let go of the things you love…or they might just believe you too. Speaking of love…
I traveled back to my roots for an epic family reunion in a little town across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis called Alton, IL. It’s like a constant hug when you go back to where you came from…even if you haven’t been there in years. Two (about to be three) of my tattoos can be found in that town. You might recognize the Greek name etched into the tombstone from my right inner heel, my sister’s forearm or my brother’s shoulder. Every family has their drama, their history, secrets only spoken of behind closed doors and boy did I learn a bunch this past weekend. Only in my family would you run into more family in the cemetery and have a history lesson in the smoldering heat along the Mississippi in July. And let’s get real, my hair was not created for humidity, okay? It’s not a good look. It’s Anne Hathaway before she became a princess while touching that thing that makes your hair stand on end at a magic house. Reason #4563 I’m still single. Anyway, while standing there listening to my uncle recall what he remembered growing up and who was who, I studied each grave and realized beneath each stone was a life lived and their story now intertwines with mine and that’s pretty magical. Each of us are thousands of years of history – an infinite strength which is always on tap.
Lakmé is concerned she and dad raised a bunch of alcoholics and I reminded her the only time she ever sees us is when we’re on vacation. We should have probably mentioned that to our cousins as well…we really went for it. However, I can honestly say, in the picture above, every one of us is 100% sober. There’s your proof, ma. I love my Greek side of the family. It’s a nonstop good time. One of my best friends growing up actually ended up marrying my cousin and I always tell them – “you know I could have made this happen way sooner.” It’s a unique thing to have a friend legally and literally become a part of the family. My family is the best. We talked about the good old days a lot, how we are the old cousins now and everything in between. We also drank a lot. Like, a lot. And if you’re curious, yes, we dyed red easter eggs growing up. And then we got to run around smashing each other’s eggs and the last person to have a side of an egg unsmashed won. But no, there wasn’t as much Windex as the movie suggests. Just a lot of stubborn personalities.
Airports during the holidays are FUN. My flight was delayed three hours and then they were just kidding and then they meant it again and then I exploded into a million tiny pieces because WHAT IS HAPPENING? I still don’t know why everyone has to turn off their phones on a plane. One time I forgot and the plane took off and landed fine – sooooo…what are we doing here? And can we please discuss what’s become of traveling these days? One kid is allergic to peanuts and I can’t have a snack. Meanwhile we’ve got every dog and cat in SoCal on this plane and no one cares. What’s next? Horses? Come on board! Welcome to Noah’s Airline! And I love dogs, okay? LOVE. But let’s all agree the ’emotional support animal’ thing has gotten way out of control. Somehow, someway, people used to go places without their animals. We can do it again. I believe in us. Your St. Bernard is not a service animal, sir. Peacocks?! I can’t. Please face the fact that you have separation anxiety – and you need to see a therapist. Don’t bring all your animals on my plane and get my allergies all worked up because you can’t handle life. I have issues too, okay? I don’t make you deal with them.
You can take the girl out of the midwest, but you can’t take the midwest out of the girl. I love the time I get to spend with my family. Wish I had more of it. There were so many people at the reunion, I didn’t get to talk to everyone nearly as much as I wanted to. The older I get the more I realize how precious time really is. To the cousins who put the reunion together, efcharistó!! It really was such a beautiful weekend. AND…(drumroll)…I now have a cookbook with YEARS of Greek recipes that I cannot wait to mess up somehow – who wants to help me? If you’ve ever had some of my mom’s baklava – you know how priceless this cookbook is. On that note, no, her recipe isn’t in there because she refuses to share which is rude. The only way she will let you have it is if you sit there and watch her. And I don’t know if you are familiar with the process of making baklava but it’s similar to watching paint dry. Every Christmas I sit and watch and every Christmas I somehow get distracted and lose interest. Shocker, right? Me? Distracted? This year I’m on it, Lakmé! And I’m bringing a pen and paper!
To my Greeks, old and new, thank you for this past weekend. Thank you for the laughter, the stories, the hugs, the dancing, the food, the drinks and the fun. Aaron, I hope your jeep is dried out…real sorry about that (whoopsie). Love to all who couldn’t make it. You were missed. Not that I ever forget, but being in Alton and around all of you reminds me of dad so much – he would have loved all of that. I know for a fact, he would have joined the Greek dancing much more willingly and enthusiastically than his daughter did. He was always the life of the party. I can honestly say, my family tree is cooler than yours. I am so proud to be a Kodros…there’s a lot of love there. Until next time all of you! Now I need a family reunion for the Italian side! What do you say, ma?