Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meet the Family

These pictures have nothing to do with this post, I just liked them. (Nice work censoring your own photo, Millie!)

Over the past few weeks, we've had all of my siblings with all of their children in town. It was a blast, let me tell ya. Still, it's always kind of a funky experience spending a lot of time with siblings, as an adult.

Anyone agree?

No matter what I've done with my life or who I've become since I left my parents' home, everyone seems to fall back into their birth order when we're together.

Here they are:

"Oldest Brother": Gourmet chef who never went to culinary school; Computer genius; Great father; Dr. Who enthusiast; and don't you dare use cream of anything soup around him. It gives him the willies.

"The Doctor": Despite his many other interests and talents, his degree has become his face. Whenever this brother is in town, any ache or pain that you've ever had will somehow come to rest upon his ears, with pleas for advice. Oh yeah, and we went running together one day. He's really fast.

"Kids' Favorite": Always the entertainer, the kids especially love him; Good White-Elephant present giver; Loves reliving his childhood (Duck tales. Need I say more?); Teaches Psychology at BYU; Gluten free cooking.


"Little Sister": Loves to sew; In the middle of a bunch of projects; Just got engaged; Wants to be individual and unique;

"Like a Nephew": I didn't actually see this brother much over the break. He was usually with the kids. You can't blame him, he is 10 years old.

Thinking that not everyone enjoys the family stereotype, I tried to break out of our mold a bit. I made dinner and used Cream of Mushroom Soup, didn't even mention a body part in "The Doctor's" presence, played games as adults, and...well, my sister was out of town and, like I said, I didn't see the youngest much. I really enjoyed getting to know my siblings better as individuals, and not just as my siblings.

Of Course, maybe the stereotype is more accurate...


Marcie Francis said...

Interesting thought, Mary, about siblings growing up together and growing out of how they were as children. I've thought about that idea a lot pertaining to my own siblings.

What I think breaks molds is to discover new aspects of people's personalities and appreciate them as they are now and toss the stereotypes out the window. "Kids' Favorite" is funny, but there's more to his personality than the fact that he likes "Duck Tales." There's more to "Like a Nephew" than the fact that he's 10, just like there's more to you than the fact that you like running and blogging.

Pretend you're meeting your siblings for the first time. Look beyond the obvious, don't judge, and give them the benefit of the doubt. You would want them to do the same for you.

Love you, Mary.

sara said...

I love that I know your family well enough to have a mental image of all the siblings as they were listed. I also love Marcie's comment, she's such a sweetheart! (and way smart, perfect for Jason) I didn't know that Steve is teaching. That's great for him! I never heard what happened to his random hole in the shoulder/collar bone thingy.
And Diane's engaged!!!! I can't believe I had to find that out on your blog! (Don't worry, I also went to her blog and yelled at her)
You should probably do this sibling update thing more often so I don't feel so left out! Good post!

Net said...

Ah... such a familiar topic.
You leave home to "make yourself" in the world, but then "home" doesn't know who that is.
I'm waaayy curious to hear what you think of our family. I think we've gotten a whole lot ...better..., but wow, it's still there. My guess is that the best remedy is when you can be close as friends. I've gained an enormous amount of respect for Molly "the baby" by getting to know her better as a friend. Of course, I'm sure if you asked her she'd probably say there was still a tinge of the "baby sister" in my attitude towards her. Then again, maybe not. I don't actually know. Another thing I'd be interested to hear...
There is another factor, though, that I think is a universal thing. No matter what you've done in your life, how grand or prestigious or whatever, where you are in your stage of life as it regards to family (ie, kids, # of, age of, etc) -- that is the "true" determining factor of whether or not you or your opinion is taken seriously. And it's not limited to families. I'm ashamed to admit that when I notice someone has absolutely no clue what they're doing with a kid, a mental note is taken of "they're just not there yet." Horrible, I know. But it's the truth.
And I'm willing to bet the opposite is true when you're in more secular circles -- that if all you know is kids and families, your opinion on anything else isn't quite as valid.
Can't win. :)

Jason Francis said...

After I read your post, I saw this gallery on Flickr:

It's an interesting exercise to create a portrait of someone using the objects they surround themselves with. Just like any generalization, it seems to miss the essence of the person, but it can also illuminate something interesting about them (like your descriptions).

I guess part of who you are is captured in the very fact that you would think to try this exercise.

"Fourth child": We love you and are proud of you. Thanks for thinking of us.

Naazju said...

Sounds like a real party.

And I remember when your (youngest) brother would visit you at Campus Plaza. So cute. Can't believe he's ten already! Where has the time gone?

And I'm glad that Diane's engagement is official enough for you to say that she's engaged. Now to bug her . . . ;)