18 August 2010

friends and family discounts...

the other day, two friends and i were chatting about another woman who was not present. this is called gossipping.

i don't really feel badly because i wasn't contributing much. i don't even know this lady. and while it's not beyond my talents to enthusiastically chime in and fabricate something pretty sinister and memorable about her? i was uninspired that morning. not even a "...and what's up with her skeevy husband?"

i blame my caffeine and sugar and alcohol detox.

but here's my point, if you can call it that: one of my friends said "she doesn't get along with her family. and she's one of, like, seven kids. doesn't speak to them. at. all. not even her parents. ever. not. ever."

all those full-stops were in my imagination, i'm sure.

her point was that if you don't like your family, chances are you don't like yourself very much. and that that's a bad seed in any growing friendship.

i wouldn't know. i love my family, and you know i had a really idyllic childhood. it was a lot like that line in a weepies song: when i was a child, everybody smiled...

but i wonder about that. whether someone who has such a disconnect from where they started can be a friend until the end?

in my own experience, my favorite friends through thick and thin all love their families. through thick and thin. and the ones who've been the biggest nightmares? sort of don't speak to their families. like, ever.

did i tell you we went back to illinois last week? our families' homes in illinois are really as close to a home as uncle sugar and i have, wanderlusters that we are.

anyway. for the first time since my oldest sister died, i felt like i could breathe. sitting and giggling with my family, i missed her. of course i missed her. but i could breathe.

and i think all that extra oxygen was coming from my family.

i'd hate to not have that. i'd hate if you didn't have that.

loving this artist called parn. be sure to read the genius descriptions he's written for every one of his genius prints. and i'd love to hear your thoughts on the whole love your family, love yourself, love your friends deal. also, xoxo.


Pour Porter said...

There are so many that don’t have that, and for some of those who don’t communicate with their family or don’t like them, oftentimes it can be for reasons beyond the petty. And many times it’s far healthier to not communicate than it is to communicate. No one should ever remain in a toxic environment or relationship simply because it happens to involve family. So broadly stating that if you don’t like your family you don’t like yourself is kinda a naïve conclusion, unfortunately. Those who have healthy, loving family relationships should celebrate, and those who don’t can make their own. : )

karey m. said...

oh, for sure! i was assuming that rotten families were left out of the discussion. sometimes, you just land in a bad pile, yes?

but for those in functional families who all get along and commit with one exception? i think that's more the discussion here...or rather the discussion that gossipy morning!

and your'e right. every time we move, we make a new family for the girls. it's awesome.

Raleigh-Elizabeth said...

Your blog is like crack to me. Truly, terrible. If you could use this magic wand of a blog to also get IAVA to hire me as its deputy communications director and the USMC to discharge my darling and send him home to be the architect he's schooled for, I'd actually be convinced you were a magical fairy godmother of the internet abyss, but I'll settle for awesome blog posts instead. And finding a killer dress to wear to the USMC ball.

My comments are two:

Some people just have really complicated families and need their own time and space to figure it out. Take us. I'm almost 30, my dad's current wife is my age, there are six siblings in there, tons of hurt feelings, tons of new love and fabulous mini-families, and even a three year old brother who is the single best form of birth control I've ever encountered. I adore him. But he's 26 years younger than I am. And my kids will call him "uncle." Thematically, that works alot better in a Diane Keaton movie than in real life.

One of my many brothers isn't speaking to my dad. Hasn't for five years. He's 21 now and I honestly don't expect this to change much until he has kids of his own, if even then. He barely speaks to me (and we actually get along quite well), hates our step sisters, has never met the baby, and despises our stepmom. (Who, in point of fact, was our dad's secretary when he was still married to my brothers' mother, so this isn't necessarily so off base. But their mother was the secretary when he was married to MY mother... this doesn't resonate with them much though. They're boys.) Now, I have a great relationship with everyone in this big mess of a family, but it's taken years. I've only just gotten friendly with my stepmom this summer.

Not everyone's families are this complicated, I know, but it's one of those things. Families, like the marriages that frequently start them, are a mystery to everyone except those inside of them and there's just no sense in trying it for anything other than being what it is: a dysfuncitonal mess we all work out in our own way. Not having a relationship with them might not mean she doesn't sit there thinking about them and loving them and missing them, it might just mean that that family that seems so easy from the outside doesn't feel so easy to her on the inside, and how's it anyone's place to judge that? I once had a boyfriend's mom berate me for having no relationship with my father, but she didn't know any of the dark secrets, alcoholism, violence, or anything that I did. In fact, none of my siblings even knew that guy. So we all experience things in our own way, and it just seems to me we're all best suited to keep our noses out. Can you imagine how awful it would be to not have your family to talk to? Forget who started it, but that be the day-to-day? Who would you call when you needed mama? Who would you call when you get a fabulous new job? If you're me, who would you call when you see a confetti heart on the street and suddenly can't call home?

This sounds like I'm such a goody-two-shoes, which I am actually not. I've been wretched to most of the people I'm related to. Thankfully, they're pretty wonderful folks and have kindly overlooked it.

In fact, maybe her family is the one that needs the dusting off, not her. Maybe they're not equally pretty wonderful folks. To her, at least.

But the second point, after that rambler, was that I'm really sorry about your sister. I lost a sister too, Merritt Elizabeth, and my mom can barely get through Christmas. And it's been several decades. But she's gotten to the point that she's able to breathe for the rest of the year - even if we're never going to be able to move back to Atlanta.

We've gotten to the point of visiting though, which makes both of us happy.

This is all. Thanks for the drugdeal of a blogpost these always are.

karey m. said...

see! i don't have these experiences, which makes ME the naive one. brill points, all. and thoughtful, which i've come to expect from you.

your mom had a gift with naming girls, didn't she?

Raleigh-Elizabeth said...

it's how I wound up with elizabeth too. she was real sick. so to keep her going.

we come from good name stock. i have a great aunt named america amazon. i'm dead serious.


Blues said...

I don't get it when people are completely disconnected from their family and I've reached similar conclusions to yours in my life. I can't imagine my life without family--Luigi's and my own. On the other hand, we've never been mistreated by family either. Of course there are ups and downs but I honestly know know know that everyone in my family loves me to pieces. They've always made me feel that way.

we may be the lucky ones, you know?

karey m. said...


i do feel lucky.

Shannon said...

My family is close, and although my two sisters and I can fight with the best of them and ignore and argue, and gossip to each other about the other...at the end of every phone conversation, even if pissed, we never good-bye without an I love you.

My take, family is where you came from, and that is a different place for everyone and if that "place" did not do it for you, it is yours to change, no need to stay.

My Henry use to say, "it doesn't matter how far you wander, love will always find your way back." And for me it always does.


Brandi said...

my family is a bit dysfunctional at times but fun, and i honestly don't know what I would do without them. all of them. even the ones that are a bit mean and the ones who might not shower enough. oh bums, that's gossiping, isn't it? ah well. love you, karey. good to hear you can breathe again.

Krissy said...

Every time the thought crosses my mind from now on that maybe i am not liking my family at that exact moment, I AM READING THIS. It's bookmarked :) My family is my backbone but sometimes I just want to avoid them at all cost- maybe that's because we're so much alike and they'll call me out on being a bia!

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

My family isn't large, but we are all very close. I can't imagine it any other way...but sadly I know that many can't say that.

Pretty Neat Designs said...

You can't pick your family, but you can pick how much interaction you have with them. I do best with less. And I fully admit that it is as much me as it is them. But having a Father who ran around and even invited some of the tarts into our house, and then explained that he was hiring an actor to *pretend* to be a justice of the peace so that he would not have to legally marry his girlfriend and a Mother who spent all of the money for my wedding on a new car (for herself) makes it a little bit easier to point fingers. But the other family, the one that is not related by blood, they are so dear to me.

Simply Mel said...

Family is wonderful (sometimes a distance between us makes for a more harmonious relationship!) ~ and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. I do believe that I am lucky to be loved so deeply by so many, but I also know there are many families that are truly dysfunctional. Believe me, there are some 'nuts' in ours, and no one is ever perfect, but we all learn to love the good with the bad. I do have several friends who do not have good relationships with their families, but instead of it being a 'problem', we have adopted them as part of our family. The entire idea of 'extended' family includes friends (four-legged species) and more when it comes to my world, and if someone is willing to accept our invitation to join in the fun of family, then they are always welcome. The more the merrier!

la la Lovely said...

I haven't thought of it like that but I think you are entirely right. And this is why I like you and your blog so... you make me think and sometimes in the busy momness, my brain sort of stops. I hate to say that or admit it but it's true & probably not just for me. Loving your family & having a relationship with them (you don't choose them as you do friends) means you are a loving, patient, kind, forgiving and accepting person in my opinion. Looking past what you don't like, loving and accepting still. Sometimes that is the hardest part but someone who can do that is def loyal....a gold kind of loyal.

Kristin said...

i think you're right about everything, karey.

hope you enjoyed your time in IL. It's no wonder you're so kind... you're a midwestern girl at heart.