I should not be allowed out of the house without adult supervision. And perhaps a leash.
Back from the Brink

Ties that bind.

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.



Naeva - I love my kids!

Noah seems to be happy already.


But, you're not alone, with that story (which, I think, is not THAT bad). People out there have 'stories' about their family, too.


Erin O'Brien

Despite the fact that I am not anonymous, I blog the dickens out of everything. I have to be careful about sex, though. The weirdos are the weirdos and they can get scary.


I totally hear you, sister. And I respect you for it. My family is the epitome of dysfunction...abuse, drugs, arrest records, mental health problems. And it's always been minimized, denied, or enabled. I've always know my family wasn't 'right', but it's taken me 26 years to see just how wrong it is. And yes, I do blog about that. Hiding everything has allowed too much shit to go on for too long. Telling the truth is how I'm going to stop the fucked-up cycle and protect my kids from the insanity.


I completely understand your position. I, too have a similar situation and, unlike you, I have chosen to walk away because I cannot be a good mom and deal with the "daytime talk show drama."
Congrats on making the decision to let it all go for the sake of your wonderful little one


@ Robbi: The difference -- at least the way I see it, and Amy can disagree with me as she sees fit -- is that right now, what is she sharing about Noah here that she wouldn't share with anyone? Nothing that I can see, just as she wouldn't share random bits about her family nonsense with the average stranger. And when Noah gets to an age when his life becomes more sensitive, I'm sure there'll be things to which we won't be privy. But at this age? He's going to be 2. What could he possibly be doing that would cause him irreparable embarrassment when he sees it?


You can change things..There will always be good and bad times but its what you do in the bad that makes it so important. How you handle it will forever change the course of your family. Make good choices..something I tell my kids ALL the time!



Beautifully written! Thank you.


Oh, honey. You are certainly not alone! I often say our family puts the "fun" in dysFUNctional! Lots of the same issues here. We've made a point of learning from them what NOT to do as we raise our children. Thank you for sharing.


I have come to realize that most people have families just like that. The movie family of wonderful togetherness is just that, a movie family. It's a construct based on what we would love a family to be, but it ignores the basic tenet that people are flawed. Even the best people.

laughing mommy

That picture of Noah in the swing is so adorable! Just the cutest thing I've seen all day!


What a cutie! The picture. Treasure him.


One more thing..... All families have some kind of dysfunctional thinging. The thing is to live through it to tell the tale of it. That's a story!

Heather B.

One day I'll have to tell you about my family. Hooo boy, it's a good one.


It took me 31 years and lots of checks written to "i love my therapist, yo" to understand that I'm not my parents and having a family doesn't mean having a house full of disfunction.

I think your recognizing the cycle is what sets you apart from it. And you flipping that cycle the bird is what's going to help you break it.

Bettie Bookish

Clearly, none of us are standing alone at Dysfunction Junction.

The only thing I would add is that, it's much more dramatic to point a finger and hold a wine glass with the SAME HAND.

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