Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Family Ties

The thing about family is you can't choose them.

You might be tempted to choose differently, at the moment when they drive you the most insane, at the height of the insanity, when the emotions are high, nobody is listening to anyone else and above all else, nobody cares what anyone else is saying (just that they themselves are heard.)

I was listening to an interesting interview on the Diane Rehm show on NPR, when she asked the inviting question, (paraphrased) "why is it that we can pour our hearts out to our friends, but when it comes to family members, it's so much harder?"

My family is a little crazier than other families. Take the morning after Thanksgiving, for example. Let me rephrase. The morning after hosting five adults and a couple of small children in a one-bathroom house for 24 hours. Let me rephrase. The morning after five adults and two small children and two 70-lb dogs crammed into a tiny kitchen around a tiny round table, feasting on turkey, memories, and each others' company. Let me rephrase. I had a glass of wine for the first time since February of this year.

I come from a very unique family. Everyone loves to talk, hear themselves talk, and espouse on various scientific and sociological theories. Don't get me wrong - it's generally very stimulating conversation. Often heated. Seldom quiet.

When it comes to the "day's plan", it tends to be a free-for-all at holiday gatherings. Okay, at all gatherings. Thanksgiving Day is no exception, nor, to bring us up to speed, is the day after. My father disappeared and re-appeared. My brother made off to the nearest Starbucks for a cup. I was at my wit's end, trying to nurse a newborn baby, entertain and calm an increasingly desperate-for-attention 2.5 year old toddler BOY, whilst keeping voices down so as to not wake the baby. And we're still in the post-postpartum stage, remember? Meaning... my emotions are still a bit fresh.

I wanted to get out of the house. I needed some human interaction (besides that of a 3-week old.) I hadn't exactly chosen this path, of playing hostess after playing patient after playing I'm-more-pregnant-than-anyone-should-ever-be bit role in my family's chaotic drama. Why didn't anyone understand that?

They did. They got me out of the house. To Starbuck's, and, mercifully, to a Tall (Skinny) Light-Whip Mocha. Apparently I wasn't smiling a whole lot through the course of the morning. I did have a lot going on, and sleep is sort of a thing of the past.

But all good things must end and brothers must be driven to the airport. It was the far airport, and he was leaving on Black Friday. Biggest shopping day of the year. My parents couldn't agree on which was the best way to take him, even though neither of them knew and needed for me to tell them. My father decided he had to take my brother to the airport, to ensure he was there three hours early. My mother decided she had to go, to ensure my father drove the right way. I bid them all farewell.

My brother grabbed me for one more bear hug and pointed at me and said, looking forcefully into my eyes, "You. Stay Happy."

I made my way back up our steps, back up to our temporarily smaller version of chaos of just managing two kids. I had tears in my eyes. He did get it. They did get it. My family did understand, and more importantly, they loved me.

The thing about family is you can't choose them. But I come back to the same truth, over and over again.

I'd choose them every time.

9 comments:

septembermom December 2, 2009 at 2:58 PM  

That stir crazy feeling is terrible. I'm glad that you're doing o.k. and your family is there for you. Hope everything is well with your kids.

♥ Kathy December 3, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

So sweet ♥ I have one of those crazy families that I would never trade in too :D

K December 3, 2009 at 11:18 AM  

Beautiful post.

I'm glad that you got out a little bit and I hope you aren't going too stir crazy.

carol December 5, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

Might as well enjoy the one you got!

Anonymous,  December 9, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

Collie! You have the makings of a "writer", but your pic needs four paws! Now, if your Aunties were there real crazyness would rein. Reading an interesting book about chaotic family "the mighty Queens of Freeville", you might find inspiring. Queen, Aunt Patsy

p.s. your doing great! just get some sleep ^;^

Keely December 16, 2009 at 11:04 AM  

Aw, hang in there! Families usually DO get us, just sometimes they deliberately misunderstand. I'm glad yours chose the right moment to understand!

Sabrina December 21, 2009 at 8:40 PM  

You don't have the makings of a writer...you ARE a writer already...a very engaging one. My favorite line is the one about brothers and airports.

Jeanne December 25, 2009 at 7:58 AM  

I love the way this post came full circle, to your realization that your family understands and loves you.

Those circles? They're what define literary fiction.

Merry Christmas!

♥ Kathy December 25, 2009 at 8:04 PM  

I hope y'all enjoyed babies first Christmas ♥

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