We get to Choose our Friends but not our Family

They say every family has its problems, and if you rattle any family tree, the crazies will fall out. Mine was riddled with them. So as an Tree adult, I tried to stay away from all the drama. But right now, it’s back and in full swing. Friends think I should write a book. Why? No one would ever believe it.

Maybe I am as crazy as my family. Maybe the difference is that I like my brand of crazy. I fell head over heels in love with a guy and married him a few weeks later. I’ll admit that was crazy. And being that much in love so many years later, in an age when people divorce because the toaster dies, was also crazy.

Oh and let’s not forget that I write romance novels. That instantly brands mA Rancher's Womane as some sort of crazy person who views the world through rose-colored glasses. Why would I ever think that people could be that much in love? Gee, I don’t know. Obviously being married for years to a terrific sexy guy doesn’t count.

And why would I choose to live in a historic home? I’ll admit that’s probably even crazier than marrying my husband after only a few weeks. So now I’m stuck in this big old money pit that can siphon more cash from my pockets in two months than teenage daughters ever did in eight years.

So I’m crazy. I have wonderful crazy friends who will meet me for coffeecoffee at a local Starbucks and chat with me about characters as if they were real, which gets very interesting when talking about killing somebody. People stare and I feel compelled to smile and tell them we’re novelists discussing characters. Oh yeah, right, and they step away very carefully.

Friends who come from normal families, do things with siblings and have family barbeques and other get-togethers. (Say barbeque in my family and it probably meant someone was about to get skewered and roasted.) So I treasure the stories my friends tell of family gatherings that sound like Norman Rockwell paintings. The ones where everyone is happy to see one another – they smile, hug, and coo over the babies. They sit at the table, laugh, and tell jokes. Our family get-togethers were a modern day, upscale version of the Hatfields and McCoys in formal dress. The placement of name cards was an act of the utmost diplomacy. Conversation was limited to please, thank you, and the asparagus is divine.

Normal families do things like go camping in the Grand Canyon. Such a thought would have caused my mother to have apoplexy, so I was dragged to London, England, because my mother thought I needed a good wool coat for winter. I would have preferred the camping trip to standing in a department store in August while my mother decided if the coat would be suitable over my dressy dresses. Without fail, if I hated it, she loved it and that was the coat that she bought for me.

I look back and wonder how I came from that family. How did I survive? I’ve seen the effects of money, power, jealousy, and alcoholism, and the destruction they cause. This old house iwhirlpools a lot like my family. It constantly has problems. I’ve learned to do without, accept, ignore, and fix things.

But we can’t fix people and we can’t always ignore them. So the vortex swirls around me. I’m not going to be sucked in. I have my own crazy life and I like it.

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3 Responses to We get to Choose our Friends but not our Family

  1. I believe we are related even though there hasn’t been an English person in my family in more than 400 years, probably because we’re not as polite. The men who marry into my family compare us women to Klingons. Reunions are blood sport events. And I love them:D

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  2. My family is just as nuts as yours, E, and I’m convinced I’m the craziest of all… but I like to think of myself as eccentric instead of crazy. Writing is the perfect “job” for eccentric people.

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  3. E. Ayers says:

    Oh, Linda, you just described my husband’s aunts. As stay-at-home wives all they had to do was compare lives – who had the nicer house, who could make the best pies, etc. As the outsider watching them, they were hysterical except for them it was a blood sport.

    Gemma, I’m beyond eccentric. LOL

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