Ties that bind.
March 26, 2007
I get asked all the time about what I won't blog about. Is there anything I keep to myself? Anything I purposely avoid? It's easy to assume there isn't, since I'm pretty open and transparent about a lot of things here.
But I do have one ready answer to that question: I don't blog about my family. Yes, I've written the occasional entry here and there. My parents' health, usually, and I think I've made some vague references to our general fucked-up-ness, and while it's tempting to mine that fucked-up-ness for Sedaris-family comedy gold, I don't.
My family is the one situation I have a hard time finding the humor in. I used to jokingly describe us as "the Brady Bunch, except that everybody hates each other."
I don't make that joke anymore.
And I don't blog about my family. Which means today is tough, since I've been home in Pennsylvania with family since last Tuesday.
We're a family that repeats the mistakes of previous generations -- the very mistakes we always swore we would never make. We hold grudges for years. We forgive but we do not forget. We expect too much and give too little.
We're a family that avoids confrontation at any cost. We're a family where people grab their car keys and storm out the door when things get ugly.
We point fingers with one hand and hold full glasses of wine in the other.
We take sides. We manipulate and guilt trip. We gossip. And we finally explode and yell and cry. The floodgates open and decades of hurts and slights come spilling out, and every delusion and pretension about who I am and where I come from are crushed under the weight of my family's daytime-talkshow-like baggage.
Then we all sing Happy Birthday and eat cupcakes and pretend none of it ever happened.
We're a family with certain members who, after realizing that family is really all we've got in this world, have opted to go it alone instead.
We're divorce at its worst. At its most painful and scarring. We're alcoholism and obesity and abuse and co-dependence and cancer and mental illness.
We're also Christmas mornings and homemade stockings and laughter and old movies and pulling together in a crisis. We're inside jokes and ten of two and grandbabies and the very best of intentions.
I don't tell stories about my family here because even though I'd like nothing more than to hear that we're not the only family like this, I need to believe -- for Noah's sake-- that none of it really matters, and that one day he'll have happier stories to tell about us.