Your Mom, with you taking the picture

Your Dad with Karlee Dog

Linda and Joseph Mandiberg
You call your parents "Mom" and "Dad." They are roughly 55 years old, and dad is three years older than mom; you can never remember how old they are, though you do have their birthdays down now (August 13th, and February 5th, though they are in your Palm Pilot in case you forget.) You can never remember their anniversary, and this upsets them. (It is in your Palm Pilot as well, so that you can remember it this time.)

Your mom is probably the first person you will call if you are sad, or if you are happy. You talk to your parents at least every other day; they call you about half the time, and you call them the other half. You usually call to speak to your mom, and conversation with your dad is more terse, though in the past year you have been having increasingly longer and more intimate conversations with him. Though clichˇ, as a general rule your mom tends to be more emotive and compassionate, and your dad tends to be more removed and procedural.

Your parents have always let you do what you wanted, (in part because you would have done it anyway,) and have given you their support. Like most artists, at times your parents don't always understand your actions or their motives, especially with respect to your art making. Your mother relates to your work better than your father, despite the fact that he was an art history major in college (they both also majored in English.) Possibly his schooling it in art up to 1965 but not past, actually keeps him from being able to understand what you're doing.

You think of your parents as part of a generation that grew up into the Hippie movement in the late sixties. They were radical and liberal and all that, but then sort of grew out of it into a middle age that is more conservative and cares about things they would never have cared about when they were in their twenties.

Your father is an orthopedic surgeon, and from him you mistakenly learned that it was normal to regularly work all day and all night to finish a task, (in his case an emergency room surgery, in yours a paper or a project.) Your mother is a florist, though she was a 'homemaker' until Stephen and you were 12 or 13 and could look after yourselves.

You worry about their happiness sometimes. Your father works too hard, (he is the only person you know who is over 55 and still regularly pulls all nighters,) and it doesn't seem like he will retire anytime soon. Your mother's body has been in bad shape for a few years. She has a condition called Sarcoidosis which they know very little about other than that it affects your lymph nodes, and is very painful. Though her Sarcoidosis has been doing better recently, her knees are also in bad shape and she had surgery on one of them.

That said, you really do appreciate your parents. Of course it is cliche, but you grown more appreciative of them only as you have gotten older.

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Chapter Seven

Family tree
Stephen Mandiberg
Linda and Joseph Mandiberg
Helen and Jack Mandiberg
Mickee and Karlee Mandiberg

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