Last weekend was Béla’s seventh Gotcha Day, which we celebrated by doing electric go-karting the day before, and eating at Benihana the day of.
This is one of my favorite photos of us as a family of five. None of us really wanted our photo taken, nor were that ready. Claudia’s t-shirt is stained… we were sweaty as heck from sitting in front of a glowing hibachi for over an hour. And we made it clear that it was a “special day” for Béla, we instructed the staff at Benihana (several times) that Béla would not. Appreciate. Being. Sung. To. With. His. Dessert.
“Not even in Japanese?” our server asked.
Did she think he was Japanese? Did she just think any language other than English would make him like it?
(To be fair, Tucker got sung “Happy Birthday” to with a cake at a very populated art opening once, and being sung to in public isn’t high on his favorites list either, but he only let it happen under the condition that everyone in the room sang in a language other than English, simultaneously. That was fun.)
Others pictures of the five of us that I love include this one, taken in Tucson, Arizona, in 2015. We were there for the All Souls’ Procession Weekend, and Tucker had made an amazing — and terrifying — lantern to walk with, made with illuminated photos from his childhood, and his own drawings. It was burned in the urn at the end of Procession, but seeing him get to talk with people about what it represented was very empowering to watch.
On our Facebook page for this blog, we have a cover photo that I thought was also visible here on the blog as a header image,, but as far as I can see, it isn’t. (I guess I need to look into that.) It’s a digital painting by artist Nina Barnes, based on a photo taken during Tucker’s 21st birthday weekend. (While many elements of the painting are fantastical, the wolves were really there.)
That is the only image of the five of us that hangs in our house. I read a Miss Manners column in my teenage years that said that displaying family photos anywhere but in private bedrooms was in terrible taste, and this has always stuck with me. (Since this isn’t a photo, it’s downstairs. I’ve also made exceptions for images of us where we are in full costume. Which isn’t an uncommon occurrence — and some of those aren’t hung and framed, but are glued to our walls.)
Béla had a nice Gotcha Day, but it was busy, with a rehearsal for the Bowie tribute show both kids have been getting ready for at School of Rock. And, Béla’s Gotcha Day, while being the day he came home, was NOT the day he met his sister; that happened the next day, on the 7th of August.
And so this year — seven years to the day after meeting one another as brother and sister, brought together from opposite sides of the globe — they were onstage together in Wildwood NJ, sweating metallic makeup, and performing music, together. While Béla mostly did cowbell percussion, and Claudia mostly lead vocals, they shared the mike as backup singers on “Modern Love”. Their involvement at School of Rock is something they relate to their “family-ness” in regard to Tucker; the suggestion to eat at Benihana came from a childhood birthday Tucker had enjoyed there. Some days, giving one another the very best of what we have to give one another, works.
Sometimes, this life is too beautiful for words.
At least for written words. It’s easily as beautiful as a couple of eight-year-olds yelping out the backup vocals to a David Bowie song while a patient, but somewhat perturbed teen tries to sing lead.
We are not perfect by any stretch, but we get high marks for enthusiasm.