Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Filmmakers Connection Networking Opportunity – and – Family? What Does it Mean to You?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Five Towns College, Dix Hills, Room 303 – meet award winning filmmaker Russ Camarda (Night for Day, Lower Than the Angels), DP Sean King (Lost Suburbia, The Ghouligans!), Fusion Effects special effects people Brian Schuly and Waldo Warshaw and casting agent Donna McKenna at the November Filmmakers Connection meeting. Bring headshots, resumes and business cards and be prepared to learn and network! $5 meeting fee for nonmembers, meeting free for members and student with appropriate ID. For more information, check www.LongIslandFilm.com.

Family? What Does It Mean To You?

I’m rethinking family. I was brought up in a very large Italian family. My mother always drilled into our brains, “friends are friends, but family is forever!” That from a woman who, rightly or wrongly, doesn’t speak to most of her living sisters now. But I believed that. Not that I liked everyone in my very large family. Although there’s just my brother and myself and our families, because my mother was one of 11 living sisters at one time, I have cousins up the wazoo.

When I got married, I had a blended family of my daughter and two stepchildren who lived with me. We were a family. I loved the family vacations, big Christmases and Christmas Eves over my house. I enjoyed the Halloween parades and the painful plays and recitals. When my stepson moved out in an unpleasant way – I was heartbroken. I saw the trunk of my family tree begin to show fractures. He and I kept in touch, though he didn’t speak to his father for several years. When my ex made it clear he had better things to do than be married to me, my relationship with my stepdaughter started crumbling as well. I guess part of that had something to do with her being a teenager too. Still, it felt good to include them in our family functions. I remember thinking quite profoundly that “family is what you make it.” When they stopping coming around, I was quite hurt till I decided it was probably for the best. I didn’t want to be around people who didn’t want to be around us. I still had my daughter, and our large family Christmases including my brother’s family, my parents and a myriad of cousins, elderly Aunt and friends, and most recently, John.

One of my cousins announced the other day that they just moved to a new home and since they have a young child, they’d like to start traditions of their own. I can’t really blame them. I will admit it was a bit tacky that they told me that without extending an invitation to my family – but that’s okay. It’s pretty clear where we stand. So after brooding for a day and a half, I tried to focus on all the money I’ll save and how much easier it will be. Then they asked if I wouldn’t mind if they came Christmas day instead. So much for saving money. My answer was, “of course you should come.” We were family, and I love them.

But the thought stream had begun. What will family holidays mean to me in the future? John had commented how the dining room was a wasted room. Except for the holidays, it’s just not used. One of the reasons I wanted to keep my house was for family gatherings. In the future, I do see them getting smaller and more…intimate. And what if, to be totally melodramatic, I am all alone one day. How will I celebrate? I have to think I still would. Maybe with some dynamite eggplant parmagiana and reliving an entire television series that I loved. If I were able bodied enough, I’d volunteer at a homeless shelter, or nursing home – somewhere, where people were alone as well.

So what is family anyway? Blood relations? Friends you love, whose lives change? Family that move on or away? An entire universe of like-minded and souled spirits who pass in the night but occasionally connect? Or are we it? Are we our own families? Celebrating who we are and occasionally bringing others with us? What do you think?

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