It’s Sunday afternoon and the family has gathered for a very special occasion.
The boys and their families flew in from Colorado and Tennessee. The girls married and settled closer to home, neither one more than an hour’s drive from their childhood home.
The big occasion? It’s Mom and Dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. The house is small, so John, Kevin and their families chose to stay at a nearby hotel in town. Now gathered in the tiny family room, the brothers and sisters wonder aloud how they ever managed to all fit in this house, let alone grow up here.
While their parents are in the back yard playing with the grandkids–nine in all–John, Kevin, Janet and Kara catch up on each other’s lives. The brothers each left home after high school graduation. John set off for college on a football scholarship and Kevin headed for Fort Bragg and a career in the military. They talk about their kids; about how much has changed and how much has remained unchanged.
What they don’t talk about is why Janet’s husband has spent most of the afternoon taking private calls on his cell phone out of earshot of his wife, or the fact that no amount of make-up can cover the purple, swollen skin under Kara’s right eye.
The elephants in the room loom as large as Kara’s husband’s absence from this auspicious occasion.
But the biggest elephant of all–the one each sibling recognizes but none want to admit to themselves, let alone each other, is the old saying that in this case rings heartbreakingly true:
Both Janet and Kara married men just like their Daddy.
And the elephants feed and grow…
If you missed the first three installments of this series, you can find them here:
The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 1: An Introduction and Explanation
The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 2: Unspoken
The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 3: Anniversary Gifts