Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Merry Christmas From The Family

My husband and I come from very different families. Mine is very conservative and traditional. They would never serve anything stronger than tea at a family reunion on either side of my family. I can only recall one aunt and a few cousins that smoke, and most of them quit years ago. We've had a few divorces, but most everyone has remained married for years.

The husband's family is so large, actually huge, that it's hard to keep up with them all. His mom and step dad have been married for over 30 years, so the step side of the family is like regular blood family and it's the same way with his dad's side. Actually, they don't consider anyone a step-relative in his family. Family is family, whether you share a bloodline or not. In his family you might get a divorce from your spouse but you don't divorce the family. It's sort of like the mafia. Once you're in, you're in for life.

When I first became a part of the family it was so different from mine that I was at times overwhelmed by the large family gatherings, where the norm would be Uncle Bob's first wife and her new husband and kids, showing up for dinner and being greeted with open arms. It was just so different from my family dynamics. After twenty years with these folks, they've grown on me. It's really hard to explain just how unique this family is. They can range from an uncle who lives in the trailer park, to an aunt in the big fancy house, to a cousin doing time in prison, to several law enforcement officers. No one really judges anyone else and for the most part we all love each other.

I've always been anti when it comes to sharing food with anyone, even my own kids. When the kids were little, I didn't like them sharing with other people either, including the kinfolk. I got more flexible and relaxed with each child (poor Caden), but in the beginning I went to great lengths to avoid any sharing when at all possible. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, doesn't think twice about sharing and used to offer my babies whatever she thought they'd like to eat, regardless of who might've been nibbling on it first. I was well aware of this fact from previous experiences over the years, but was never bold enough to just tell her how I felt.

When Cassidy was about eight months old, we came home for a visit and were having a big family gathering at my mother-in-law's. As soon as I saw that we were having corn on the cob I knew what was in store for her. I thought that I would quietly intervene to ensure that she wouldn't get anyone's leftover ear of corn to gnaw on while strolling around in her walker. Yes, my mother-in-law loves to give the babies the leftover corn on the cob to suck on after someone (anyone) has eaten off all of the corn. Knowing that, I walked quietly over to my husband after I made my plate and whispered in his ear, "Hey, if you finish your corn before I do, give it to Cassidy, okay?" My plan was that one of us would beat my mother-in-law to the punch. If Cassidy were going to gnaw on a used corncob, it would at least be one of ours and not third cousin Joe's ex-wife's new husband’s. I thought it was a rather clever plan, until I'd walked across the room and heard my husband make a very loud family announcement, "Would the first person to finish their corn on the cob, please give it to Monkey?" I thought I was going to die. He was so clueless! I must've looked like a beaver in a wood-eating contest. I devoured my corn in record speed and almost plowed a few people over trying to get my corncob to her walker first. I got there in the nick of time. I've never let him forget what a dufus he was that day.

Here are lyrics to what we think could be the family anthem.

Here's a link to a video of the song.


teresa said...

I am laughing out loud. 1st at the corn on the cob & 2nd at the lyrics. My god, you are so funny!

Carri said...

Awwwww, thanks, Teresa! I'm glad someone thinks so.

Wait til you hear the song. I just added it. The lyrics just don't do the song justice. You gotta hear that redneck twang to get the full effect.
It cracks me up.

Ronni said...

Brendan's dad's family is just like that. I love them. They could not have been more welcoming to me and my girls, even though they couldn't have been all that happy about him taking up with a divorced woman 16 years his senior.