Friday, May 11, 2012

It's a family affair.

You can't cry, 'cause you'll look broke down
But you're cryin' anyway 'cause you're all broke down

It's a family affair
It's a family affair

~ Sly and the Family Stone "It's a Family Affair"


I was once reading my friend Angella's blog and she was talking about watching the loving interaction between her children. In words and photos she captured the special bond shared between her son, daughter and their cousins. And how much it warmed her heart to realize that they loved, respected and admired each other.

I have moments like that with my sons all the time. Ones where one is sad because the other got in trouble or where they are wrapped together in a blanket or an idea on the couch. They are special times; they are everything you hope for.

Last weekend, I had that feeling well up in my soul again. But this time it didn't involve Isaiah or Zachary. This time I got to witness this with one of my small groups of medical students--Small Group Beta.

First day of school, July 2009

I still remember the first day they all met each other. I was a bit nervous because this was my second small group and, in a way, it felt like I was having a second child. My only point of reference was my first group who quickly coined themselves "Small Group Alpha" -- so they wouldn't be confused with the newest addition to the family.

When Small Group Alpha started in July of 2007, they formed an unusually close bond very, very quickly. The vast majority of them hung out together and studied together and just-about-everything-you-can-think-of-ed together. I take no credit for this. It just sort of happened.

Small Group Beta was a little different. Their process of bonding and gelling as a "family" was a more gradual process. Yes, they became friends and of course, they all immensely respected one another. Still. . . their overall interaction was not quite like that of my first group.  

And that was fine because they weren't my first group.

But those relationships evolved over time. Those small group sessions at the school of medicine and in my home built momentum. And one day I looked up and realized that these eight strangers had become a family. A close knit, Benetton-ad looking family. 

Still. I don't think I fully realized how tight those ties had become until last weekend.

This is happy girl with the big smile and blonde hair is Jenna M. from SG Beta.  Last weekend on cinco de Mayo Jenna got married right outside of Atlanta. She invited every member of our small group to be there. And there we all were. 

But not just there physically. . .  we were there in spirit, too--in that way that family members should be. And it felt like we were family, for real. . . because we are. 

We had so much fun! The Betas took it upon themselves to even coordinate the rental of a "party van" so that our entire small group (and their significant others) could all ride there together. When Jenna learned of this, she was so moved. I was, too.  It was one of the sweetest gestures I've ever seen.

Vishes M. was our "vicious" driver. And yes, this van was as ginormous as it looks.

We laughed out loud and reminisced on that ride. We ate sunflower seeds and chewed bubble gum and discussed their future plans for residencies and life. But most of all, we just basked in the spirit of love for our family member. This was Jenna's special day and everyone agreed that this meant it was our special day, too.

The weather could not have been more spectacular. The venue was breathtaking and so were all of my small group students. They really fixed up well!

The energy was high and the love was genuine. To me, that's even more important than the accouterments. Don't you think so, too?

I teased Mark G. about how much his haberdashery has blossomed since his first day of school. (Check him out on that first day.) We also compared our grey hair and then agreed that it's a chic accessory.

So 2012, I tell you!

Mara S. even surprised us with a new look -- blonde hair! So "top model" of her! Ha ha ha. I love the idea of switching things up with your look. It keeps life interesting.

And when you are as smart and beautiful as Mara, you can pull such changes off even with blue hair. 

My favorite part of the day was when Jenna first came around the corner in her dress at the ceremony. One of the most stoic members of our small group (who shall remain nameless) literally cried the instant he laid eyes on her. 

"She looks so beautiful and so happy," he said under his breath. He looked at her exactly as a proud brother would. Because that's exactly who he was in that moment.

And, okay, I said "he" which means that yes, it was a guy not a girl. But that's all I'll say on that. . . . .mmm hmmmm. . . . 

Man. Jenna looked beautiful. Don't believe me? Just look at her mother in this picture below. If your mom looks this good on your wedding day, how can you look anything but?

And okay. . . I will go ahead and admit that there were a lot of people tearing up that evening--not just that stoic dude who shall remain nameless. 

Ah hem.

The reception was perfect. We laughed and danced and toasted and celebrated. It was memorable and wonderful.

And yes. Small Group Beta certainly knows how to shake a tail feather.

Jenna was so happy. So happy to be there with her family in every sense of that word. And we were all happy, too.

The night ended with sparklers. Which was also perfect because the experience was just that--sparkling.

Most of us were zonked out on the way back while Vicious Vishes kindly drove us back to Atlanta. We all felt safe and content enough to doze right off. At least I did. 

That part was good, too.

Yeah. So this? This was one of those moments where I got to witness my "kids" loving one another. And it just served to remind me of how fortunate I am to have this job and these people and these moments in my life.

That's all I got.

Happy Friday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . ."It's a family affair" by Sly and the Family Stone


  1. OK. Those small group people are only five years older than your two little boys. Honestly, I'm getting old.

  2. I actually missed you for the couple days you didn't post! I hoped you were just busy but okay. This post, as usual, is beautiful. I love that you live every part of your very full life so fully.

  3. such joy an camaraderie in these pictures. the bond they have forged is clear to see, and you had a part in that. beta is blessed to have you set the tone.

    and you are WORKING that red dress.

    beautiful photos. beautiful post.

  4. You should wear red every day! That dress is bee-you-tee-full as they say in Philadelphia or "Fluffya" as they pronounce it. Anyhoo. .. You look gorgeous, almost prettier than the bride!


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