November 8, 2017

Stomach bugs and family dynamics

My family dynamic is hard to describe.  I've been married to Coach for 21 years, and he has just started to 'get it' over the last few years.  

My two older sisters are very close.  They probably speak to each other every few days.  I go weeks or longer without hearing from either one of them.  And life is fine that way.  I'm the middle child.  Or the great divide between the two sets of buddies.  My two younger brothers have a similar BFF dynamic.  Growing up we always joked that they would end up marrying twins or sisters at least.  We couldn't imagine them not living under the same roof.  

So, it isn't completely unexpected that neither of my sisters have called or texted or emailed me to ask if I felt better.  They know I was sick.  They call and talk to my mom daily.  They know my family stayed at our parents' house WHILE we were sick.  They know that my mom ended up getting sick.  They blame me.  And it IS our fault.  Had we not stayed there, my mom wouldn't have become sick.  We feel terrible.  My parents' kept telling us not to worry about it.  It wasn't intentional.  It happens.  Still.  

The night Mini got sick my oldest sister called my parents' house.  She and I spoke briefly.  'I mean, do you have dad in a different room than Mini?' she grilled me.  Oh, the tone.  I'm sorry I can't deliver that in a blog post.  Trust me, it's nasty.  Most of her sentences begin with 'I mean . . . '  I so badly wanted to respond with a sarcastic, 'No, I have him in the bathroom holding her hair back while she pukes.'  Seriously!

Several years ago, my side of the family was scheduled to have a family photo.  My sister, Marie, and her family were staying at my parents' house.  They were in town from Wisconsin.  An hour before the photo shoot was scheduled, we got word that Marie's girls had lice and the portrait would need to be rescheduled.  Marie has four girls.  Lots of hair.  Lots.  It was dreadful.  
The view from our seats at the ND game back in September 2011.
My parents' have incredibly short, to no hair at all.  They weren't worried about getting lice, but the kids had stayed at their house.  Fumigation was necessary.  Our kids had spent time with these cousins at a Notre Dame tailgate and football game the day before the lice breakout became apparent, so Mini had to go thru a precautionary kill-lice-egg-treatment ordeal.  None of us blamed Marie.  She felt awful.  We all called.  Checked up on her.  Inquired about her situation, because it wasn't easy.  She had to go home and deal with all that hair, and the bedding, and wherever else lice lay their eggs.  It was a nightmare.  
What you see here in the background is a delightful tailgate spread on a
beautiful September day in South Bend. 
Mini poses with a cousin in front of the food.  I remembered taking this photo and countless others like it, which is why I groaned the next day when I heard the 'lice' news.  Mini had to have her hair treated with the anti-lice stuff.  I was really relieved that Curly hadn't gone to ND that day.  Imagine dealing with her mop of curls?
OK, OK, I know.  I typically avoid putting photos of my kids on my blog.  I couldn't crop this face.  Just couldn't do it.  Besides this was 2011.  We were thankful not to have to rake thru this head in search of lice.  That would've been torture.
So, you get the picture?  Not just of hair and puke, but of the family dynamic here?  Just in case you don't I am posting another gem.  This next one speaks volumes to how stressful times reveal so much about a family. 

Am I alone?  Does anyone else out there have siblings who believe that they belong to a close knit family, but in reality they are only close to the family members who share their narrow mindedness and passive aggressiveness?  And who would never think outside the box?  And who don't create original thoughts?  And who don't introduce awful stomach bugs (albeit unintentionally) to their parents' home? 

OK, I'm done.  Deep breath.  


Gigi said...

I'm thoroughly convinced that most families operate this way.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I think in general, most families are a hot mess. You are called to love and get along with people that you would never hang out with on your own choosing. And typically because they are your family, you treat them worse than you would treat strangers.