My Mom loves dancing. She would often go out and dance with her friends. As a single parent, she's had to deal with a lot, and dancing helped relieve her stress. Things changed drastically 5 years ago. In 2005, my Mom was struck with myeloma.



My Mom has beaten the median survival rate (as listed on Wikipedia), but she still needs care. As such, she's going in for another round of chemo the week that I'm writing this.

When a disease strikes a loved one, even the simplest of events can carry weight.

Herewith, I would like to a few thoughts about my family.

Our family has been to Walt Disney World many times. Every time we visit the Magic Kingdom, we go on Splash Mountain.



My Mom isn't much for most of the thrill rides there. More often than not, my brother and I usually go on the other mountains (Space and Big Thunder) ourselves, but it's a family tradition to visit Brer Rabbit and crew on every journey.

We've been on the ride over 15 times, and the drop still thrills us (and drenches us) every time. We often have our disagreements, but when we're at the Magic Kingdom, all is right in our little world.

My Mom has introduced me to some very interesting foods. I'll often have sausage for dinner every week or two.



There was usually nothing much for me to do than reheat it after I had any left over from dinner. Mom introduced me to an interesting concept, though.

Although it had been around for a long time, I only started eating it last year.

What she said to do was reheat the sausage, cook up some spaghetti, mix it altogether in a casserole dish and add some cheese to it. Cook it for a while and then you have a very Italian meal.

The cheeses that I usually use are Mozzarella and Parmesean.



If it hadn't been for my Mom, I don't know if I would've been introduced to such a tasty dinner.

She's always been one of my biggest boosters, even though we've had quite a few disagreements. It's like that with my brother as well.

Our relationship has always been a contentious one, but thankfully the anger has started to slip to the wayside in recent months, only occasionally rearing its' head. I think this has to do with the fact that my brother often drives me places I can't get to myself.

I'll never be behind the wheel of a car, because I get distracted and angered too easily. As such, I've relied on others to give me rides. My brother will drive me to my psychologist, and occasionally he'll drive me to the movies as well.

I've even seen a few with him, although he usually brings along his friends.

It's a very enjoyable time, even if the movie is bad. Although I do have friends, they either live far away or I don't get to talk to them outside of karaoke. With my brother, I'm able to have a friendship, albeit a somewhat contentious one, that has seen us through a lot.

As I've dealt with the fact that it's been 15 years since my Dad died, my brother has sometimes assumed the mantle of authority in the house. I always assumed that since I was older, I would have to be the man of the house. My brother was able to step up to the plate better, though. As such, when I get pissed off, I'll occasionally call him Dad.

What it is it that I'm envious of him. He doesn't have the same issues I do...I guess I just feel bitter at times. He occasionally gets exasperated with me as well...It's understandable. When you live with someone who has assorted emotional and mental issues, it can be hard to live with them.

It was Tolstoy who said "All happy families are happy in the same way...while all unhappy families are unhappy in many different ways".



That's a black-and-white way of looking at things. Families are complex units...They extend in all directions to different corners of the Earth. Sometimes everybody is on the same page, like at family reunions, while other times there can be heated arguments.

Politics, religion, even something as simple as who will pay for dinner can turn into an all-out battle. Lord knows that's been true in my house. At the end of the day, though, the old saying rings true:

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family.

You're with them forever, so you need to make it work somehow. Yes, my family has alcoholics, people who give bad advice, and people who can be insensitive to each other, but I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

It's a little confusing, but we'll make it through somehow. If we've made it into 2010 without killing each other, we must be doing something right.

With that, the floor is open for discussions:

How has family life treated you? Do you have good relationships with your loved ones?