One of the traits that my sister Abby and I share is what we refer to as the “loyalty gene.” We are loyal to each other, our family, our friends, our pets and even to a lesser degree certain brands, certain restaurants and certain products. Now, our mother was also loyal but in a much different way. She was loyal to her mixed up memories of the distant past and she was very loyal to her life in denial. She would swear that she ran the wheels off her car for my sister Abby and me. She would also swear on a stack of Bibles about how she couldn’t do enough for us as we were growing up. I am not sure if she was trying to convince us, or herself, or the rest of the world, but it never worked. There was simply too much evidence witnessed by too many people to prove the case that, in reality, she did very little for us as children.
Our dad was one of the most loyal people in the world. I think that my sister and I inherited the “loyalty gene” from Dad, and of course we also learned by observation from him that a man (or woman!) was only as good as his or her word. Dad lived his entire life remaining loyal. He was loyal to his family, to his friends and to his history and heritage. He did not live in the world of denial, nor “sit on a throne of lies” (yes, that is a reference to the Will Ferrell movie “Elf“, when Buddy confronts the fake Santa Claus in the department store).
Dad was true to his word and you could always count on him. He loved the familiar and he found comfort in people and places that he knew would be there for him as well.
I take things like honor and loyalty seriously. It’s more important to me than any materialistic thing or any fame I could have.
– Lloyd Banks
Mother on the other hand found loyalty to products one of the only facets of loyalty that most should emulate. She had a fascination with Lifebuoy soap, fresh fish and Avon products. Using money that should have been budgeted for food, she made sure to have the latest scent of perfume from Avon and their lavender sachet. No matter that there was nothing for dinner for the four of us, what mattered most to Mother was that The Avon Lady was paid each week. As in so many areas in her life, I guess she felt good about putting food on other people’s tables instead of her own family’s table.
Our dad loved his work as an attorney and was as loyal to his clients as they were to him. When he retired, due to poor health, he received tons of well wishes along with numerous expressions of sadness because the best and most trustworthy lawyer they knew was no longer going to be working. Quite a testament to a life well lived!
Loyalty is part of a healthy family and their relationships. You should always be able to count on your family, no matter what. That’s the place you celebrate, love, grieve and remember. May all your families find comfort in being loyal to one another.