March 26, 2010

Family Life

Posted in Children, Cleaning, Family, Home, Pets tagged , , at 7:05 am by Liliana

Joe, Branka, Jeff, Liliana - 1982

Joe, Branka, Jeff, Liliana - 1982

My sister and I are married to two brothers.

Jeff and I met first. I was in graduate school in St. Louis, his hometown, and one of my roommates introduced us. We were married a year later. His younger brother, Joe, was the best man at our wedding. My younger sister, Branka, was the maid of honor. The younger siblings danced at the wedding and seemed to like each other, but they were both in college and in other relationships. Three years later Branka (then a high school teacher) spent her summer vacation with us. She and Joe (a public radio DJ at the time) went to movies, jazz concerts and walks by the Mississippi River. By August, they were engaged.

Over the years, we have mostly lived in close proximity to each other. Our Siberian Huskies (Bella and Silver) were sisters. Our children are close in age and devoted to each other. Nena and Sasha attend the same college. Nicole and Sam share teenage angst and have double dates. Mike teases them all indiscriminately.

Now that Joe will be losing his job in May, the closeness of our families will be tested even more. Joe has decided to go back to school, get his MA and become a high school English and French teacher. To make this plan possible, they have chosen to rent out their house, and move in with us. Our house is fairly spacious, but we’ll have to organize the space carefully, so that everyone has the privacy they need.

For the last month we have been preparing Joe and Branka’s house for renters. Everyone has been doing their part: painting, cleaning, moving furniture, fixing things that were broken, preparing food for the workers, etc. Sasha and Nicole have expressed sadness about leaving their childhood home, but really, for the most part all of us have been upbeat. We are excited about Joe going back to school and doing what he loves. We are happy that we have each other to help now that the need has arisen. It won’t be easy, we all know that. Some of us are very private, some very extroverted, but we are all willing to find a balance and make it work.

You might remember my sister’s dining room table. Well, it is now in my dining room and will stay there until Joe and Branka are ready to move to another place. No one thought for a second that the table could be left behind. We took our set to the basement and my sister’s Amish table and chairs are again the hearth of our family get-togethers.

5 Comments »

  1. Dave Harrison said,

    You are all very blessed to not only be related and neigbors but close freinds as well. This will be a true test but knowing you & Jeff as I do and having met Joe & Branka at graduation parties I’m sure this will be the perfect solution to all. You’ll be closer than ever when this is over.
    Praying for you & yours
    Dave

    • Liliana said,

      We’ll see, Dave. Hopefully you are right and we’ll all be on speaking terms when this is all said and done. I’ll keep you posted of our adventures.

  2. Conner said,

    I love my parents and sister and have been lobbying for them to live near us so that we can all play a more meaningful part in each others’ lives and support each other in our various stages of life. My sister and I have three children each who love each other but only get together 1-2 times a year at most. Same for my parents. Alas, they cannot bring thesmelves to leave behind friends, doctors and in my sister’s case, a job, which of course I have to accept. It makes me so sad to think I will not be able to care for my parents as they get older (they live about 1,000 miles away) and my kids are growing up in a small, inward-looking nuclear family.

    So I was very touched to read your account; I think it’s wonderful that you have decided to live together and help your sister and her husband through a tough patch; family solidarity is such a rare thing nowadays – it’s really heart-warming to read about it. All my best wishes for a harmonious and growth-enhancing experience for all four of you!

    Best, Conner

    • Liliana said,

      Connor,
      thank you for your sentiments and your good wishes. I am sure we will need all the good will that we can get. I have a good feeling, though, that we can work through any issue that comes our way.

      I completely understand how you feel about your paretns and sister being so far. I have a large, extended family in Serbia whom I am very close to. It makes me sad not to share in their everyday experiences. Recently, though, we have all armed ourselves with Skype and video cameras. It’s not the same as being together, but it is so nice to see them and talk to them.
      My very best to you and your family.

    • Liliana said,

      Connor, thank you for your sentiments and your good wishes. I am sure we will need all the good will that we can get. I have a good feeling, though, that we can work through any issue that comes our way.

      I completely understand how you feel about your paretns and sister being so far. I have a large, extended family in Serbia whom I am very close to. It makes me sad not to share in their everyday experiences. Recently, though, we have all armed ourselves with Skype and video cameras. It’s not the same as being together, but it is so nice to see them and talk to them. My very best to you and your family. Liliana


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: