I don’t know about you but family has always been a very strange and mysterious creature to me. Perhaps I don’t have the standard family gene or my ideas about family are just flat out strange. Which quite possibly is saying the same thing in two different ways. Anyway, my family is I suppose like anyone else’s, a combination of sitcom, soap opera and amusement park rides (E ticket of course). I love my family but I have to say I’m not very much like them. Like not at all.
In fact, Mom used to say that I was a gift from the mailman. As a young child this confused me and I seriously wondered if I was mailed to them and maybe because they had an extra room they decided to keep me rather than pay the return postage. Though Mom also used to say I was born 40 which really made me wonder why I wasn’t a C section and why I wasn’t allowed to have my own apartment – but I digress…
I find the whole concept of family just a little strange. Here you are born into a group of people with whom you may or may not have anything in common (beyond the genetic pool and markers) and yet you must love them. You must have holiday dinners with them, remember their birthdays, call them on the phone occasionally and forgive when they do some really shitty things. It’s about love and all that. But there is no other relationship on Earth where you are not allowed to choose it, right? I mean you choose your friends, they aren’t just given to you at birth, are they? And we choose our spouses/significant others, yes? Even your co-workers and neighbors you choose (at least a little) and if it turns out you don’t like them you can quit your job or move. With family not so much.
With family you take what you get, right? If you have a crazy Uncle Joe who likes to play the national anthem on his empty Budwieser bottles, you’re kind of stuck with him. Can’t exactly go to the uncle exchange store and swap him out for a nicer more likeable model. If Mom is all twittery, you can’t drug her and make her like Mrs. Cleaver, you just have to live with twittery. And parents can’t trade in their evil little hellraisers for sweeter Beaver Cleaver models either. So you learn to live with it – or you disown them en masse or individually. Though honestly, that really doesn’t work because for whatever reason there is that pull – that invisible silly string that tangles you up with them somehow in way that no other group of people can tangle you.
They can try to devour you on a daily basis, blame you for the sky falling and give you the worst Christmas presents ever, yet still….that pull, that magnetic force that binds you will not release you. Even if you separate yourself from them physically, you can never do so mentally or emotionally. They all sit in the back of your head arguing over the Christmas dinner table, while you’re dodging the mashed potatoes and gravy. Face it folks, their yours and you’re theirs. And no matter how many battles, laughs, tears or whatevers ain’t nothing ever going to change that. Weird, huh?