We have a joke in my family that my brother Dan is our mom’s favorite. Notice she’s making Greek spare ribs for dinner for the first time in six months? Ask her if Dan’s in town. See fireworks in a park near her house? Ask when he arrived.
Now, I have to say my siblings – including Dan – think this is hysterical, but I’m not so sure our mom is all that amused. She vehemently denies she has a favorite. And so do I. I tell my sons all the time that I dislike both of them equally. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! Interestingly enough, the boys find that much funnier than my mom does.
Since I don’t have a favorite child, I suppose I could tell you how GR Kitchen is my new favorite place for quick Greek food. The ingredients are fresh, the cuisine tasty and the prices reasonable. And I guess I could say that Bloods Lake is my favorite hiking place because it’s one of the few areas in Big Cottonwood Canyon that allows dogs. (The lake is actually in Summit County, thus not in the watershed.) The hike isn’t too strenuous, there are a lot of dogs for Skeelo to play with, and the scenery is magnificent.
But I’d rather tell you why my family is fabulous.
Take Gus for example: at 14-years old, he is the polar opposite of me at that age. He’s a total jock. He lives for hockey and aspires to play in the NHL, but will play in the minor leagues if need be. He’s even thinking that hockey may be his ticket to a college education. He also loves paintball, and wears the welts from other players guns like a badge of honor! In fairness, he regales us with stories of his own blistering hits on the competition.
But very much like me, he has absolutely no tolerance for discrimination against anyone for any reason. He has no qualms calling out people – even adults – if they make a racist comment. And I’m extremely proud of his reaction to hearing that a kid he knew in Kindergarten is transitioning genders. Using the correct pronoun, he exhibited compassion and acceptance beyond his years by simply stating, “I hope she’ll be happy.”
And then there’s Niko. I love the fact that he marches to the beat of his own drum. Niko doesn’t care what people think, which I greatly admire. He’ll be the first to tell you there is no such thing as a “boy” color or a “girl” color. Just last night when they were discussing their dream cars, Niko admitted that he longs for a pink Hummer with black racing stripes.
He also possesses an unwavering dedication to the school’s choir – never misses a practice, and looks forward to each and every performance. This in and of itself is a miracle. One of my favorite photos of Niko is when he was in Pre-K, dressed as a fairy for his then school’s musical rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” his arms folded, refusing to sing a solitary note or dance one step, glaring at his parents in silent protest. Nowadays, he’s worried that the audience may be too small for his mighty talents!
Frankly, there are many restaurants, book stores, hikes, museums, and destinations beyond GR Kitchen and Bloods Lake in and around Salt Lake that I think are amazing. But if I’m being truthful, part of their appeal for me – really the biggest part – is that I get to enjoy them with my family. By far, they’re the most fabulous of all.