Regina G Beach

The only constant is change.

Same, same, and same… but oh, so different

I’ve been sorting through a lot of old things lately and came across a series of essays from 2003-2004. I thought they deserved to see the light. Here is the first one.

People are like snowflakes, or stars, or pots of chicken paprikash. No two are entirely alike regardless of how similar they appear. In the case of snowflakes, their dendrites vary by flake. Their six symmetrical appendages differ from all neighboring flakes. In the case of stars, one tiny glimmer of light could be replaces with any other heavenly body until the color, distance, and position in the sky is considered. Chicken paprikas can vary by who is cooking it or whether it is served with rice, pasta, or dumplings or whether it has too much or not enough paprika. 

My parents and I in the ‘90s.

My parents and I in the ‘90s.

In the case of my family, my mother, my little sister, and I differ solely by our ages and stages of life. We share fears, mannerisms, a genuine love of life, and creative tendencies. Unlike snowflakes, stars, and traditional Hungarian dishes, the fairer half of our family is more alike on the inside than on the surface. Our uncommon bond and the fact that we share the roof over our heads keep us entwined to the nth degree in our “go, go go” fast-paced lives. 

Friends are the people I can be myself around and not worry about how I am perceived. Friends are the people who make me laugh until I cry and then offer a shoulder to weep on. I can honestly say that my mother is my best friend. I known her since before I can remember. She is my favorite person in the while world. The older I get, the more I find myself resembling her in speech and action and the more I look up to her. She is one of the funniest people I know. Her humor is very dry and extraordinarily witty. She makes up games and she makes up words. Just this evening at dinner we made up “hamsicles,” which are, just as the name suggests, frozen pork novelties. Her wackiness creates an uncommonly open, warm family dynamic. With four children to care for, our hectic household is a sanctuary for amusing stories and hearty laughter. 

This giant fork sculpture is to this day in the kitchen.

This giant fork sculpture is to this day in the kitchen.

Mom is also a quiet activist for the greater good. She sees the straight and narrow path and won’t stand for bureaucratic nonsense. She is constantly making phone calls and writing letters expressing her options to congressmen and local politicians. Recently she raised the question of why Burns Road was ripped up the week before the start of the new school year, and why the government continues to spray for mosquitos when conclusive evidence shows that spraying does more harm than good. Mom is an art fanatic. She has not the time to create herself, so soaking up others’ masterpieces is the next best thing. Our house is home to a giant fork sculpture, up-close photographs of bubbles, painted gourds, and metal sculptures in addition to the painted prints that cover the walls. Her taste is excellent, which makes sense with her current profession. She is a freelance interior decorator, but she makes raising her children her first and foremost responsibility. She loves her children unconditionally with more love than even I know l could not ask for a better mother or a more loyal friend. 

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, in varying degrees and depths. Cinco de Mayo of my tenth year on earth, a tiny bundle of joy entered our family, evening out the count of boys and girls and without my knowledge giving me a new perception of myself, another conscience and the most truthful, honest friend I could ask for. Marah is my twin. She says we are “same and same.” If time were not a factor, it would be eerily true. Not only do photographs of me in my early years resemble her physically, but I’ve been told that she sounds, works, and thinks as I did at her age. Marah is incredibly intuitive and far more sensitive to her environment than many children her age. She speaks blatant truths that stop me dead in my tracks or simply make me smile. On her first day of first grade she told me that she could not invite friends over in the afternoon anymore as she did in kindergarten because she is now at school all day. She ended her thought with, “I guess that’s just how my life’s gonna be now.” 

Her total acceptance of her fate in life astounds me. She has spent so much time in the car carting her siblings from one activity to another, watching football, soccer, basketball, and hockey games. Going to orientations and art shows, and plays and countless other outings without protest. Marah is thoughtful beyond description. She gives without thought of receiving making string bracelets, little notes and cards, saving stickers and magazine pictures of things she knows we like. She is not shy with hugs and kisses and says “I love you” with a regularity that never gets old. The mystery of life is a constant wonder and irritant to my little sister. She is very curious about the origin of mankind. She had batted around several highly regarded theories without ever having exposure to them. For a while she was convinced the first people suddenly appeared at the hand of God. But then that not longer made sense to her. She told me that “God dies a long time ago” and took up a new theory that the first person’s mom was an animal of some sort because “everyone has a mom.” She thinks the mystery would be solved if every person alive were to get together in one giant football stadium. “Then we would find the oldest person there and ask them, ‘Did you come from a seed?’” Marah serves as a personal nag, a perfect image of innocence, and the greatest, kindest, most loving friend I have. Our lives changed drastically with the addition of another child, but I would not have it any other way. Life without Marah would be dry and so ordinary. Every day I am thankful to have been blesses with such joy. 

Friendship is a remarkable thing. The people we spend the most time with become our friends for reasons as simple as a close proximity. In my short life, I have formerly called so many people “friend” who I no longer speak with. A true friend is long lasting. A true friend is a reflection of oneself, a mirror of the best and worst qualities one possesses. Friends are like snowflakes, unique and yet sharing so many qualities that often times they are indistinguishable from each other. My mom and sister are the stars of my life, sharing my ups and downs and shining through it all. Like a hot bowl of chicken paprikash, warming up my insides, my family completes me, makes me who I am and I would not trade them for the world.