May 9, 2018

Drinking the Kool aid - it's a family thing

Dad asked me during our Scotland trip what Eddie’s score was on the ACT test.  ‘Eddie did well, but I am not going to share his score with you.’  

We were at dinner.  I was trying to enjoy a dry chicken breast, because I couldn't have the bun and they had no other suitable sides.  I was already almost choking, when Mini made an interesting remark to dad.  

'I think it is odd that Marie would tell you her kids’ test scores.'  I nudged Mini, ‘They drink the same Kool Aid.’  For some reason, my sisters and my brother Pat, feel that my parents are entitled to know EVERYTHING.  I suspect that my brother Mike keeps our folks on a need to know basis.  I am not 100% sure.  Leaving the folks in the dark for some stuff is the philosophy I try to follow.  

I admit that when I was first married, I tended to overshare.  It was instilled in us (my siblings and I) that sharing information, regardless of whether or not it was relevant, was necessary because we were one heck of a close family.  This is how my folks define ‘close knit family’.  Translation:  we know no boundaries.  Eventually, I saw that this wasn’t a healthy mindset.  I honestly don't recall when I experienced that revelation.

Over valuing my parents' opinion seems to go hand in hand with the entitled-to-all-information mindset.  This is a particular struggle for my sisters.  Interested in an example?  Pour yourself some Kool Aid and kick back . . .

Ann (my oldest and very controlling sister) named for first born son, Wallaby, a name that I planned to also use someday.  It was our maiden name.  (OK, I'm kidding.  That wasn't our maiden name, but she did name him our maiden name, which also happens to double as a boys' first name).  She caught wind of my interest in using Wallaby after her son was born, and she forbid me to ever use the name.  Um, but . . .  it was my maiden name, too!  Anyway, she's like that. 

When she was expecting her daughter she wanted to name the baby Clare.  My mom wrinkled up her nose and told her that she didn't like that name.  Ann switched gears - naming the baby Bridget.  This was the name that had been my favorite since I was a little girl.  And everyone knew it!  I had 3 boys in a row.  She knew I planned to use Bridget if I had a girl.  She forbid me from using it, too.  Right along with Wallaby. 

This is the original Bridget. 
My doll.  No idea why I kept her,
because now she is so old
no child would play with her. 
She is just way too creepy looking.
Fun fact, (I feel a fun fact is necessary to spice up a story that shines the light on my weird family.  Trying to keep it light, people - so you don't sense any bitterness here.  Is it working?).  I secretly played with dolls in my room thru 8th grade.  I loved babies and I couldn't wait to become a mother.  You might not have realized this if you ever laid eyes on me, because I spent my youth sporting that atrocious short hair cut that my mom fashioned with a straight edge razor blade.  It was supposed to be a Dorothy Hamel twin thing, but oh -it so wasn't.  Anyway, I looked like a not-cute boy not a sweet, doll-playing girl.  My main doll's name was, you guessed it, Bridget.  I was furious that Ann didn't go with a name that she loved - just to please our mom.  I know I use code names here to protect my offspring, who are already facing years of therapy - why add to it.  Trust me here, neither of my girls are names Bridget.  Sad, but true.

Marie runs everything past mom, too.  It is mind blowing. 

I have noticed that my folks are almost insulted when I don't cave and give them the details that they desire.  They feel entitled to know test scores and what colleges my boys want to apply to, etc.  

I admit that I can flap my gums a bit.  Not about ACT scores, but about other stories.  Things that might seem funny or alarming.  I realize afterwards that perhaps I shouldn't have shared these anecdotes with them.  I don't intend to tell them everything, and I don't.  Really.  Sometimes though they learn things when I am relaying a nutty story.  Or I will slip up and make an off the cuff remark about something that I forgot they didn't know about.  

I don't know how I ended up being the sister capable of forming original thoughts.  Really.  No idea.  When I ordered the table for my new kitchen, I told my mom that the woman who was making it was going to put a monogram on it.  
This is the monogram. 
And you thought I was
kidding that our last name was Shenanigan. 
Silly you!

Mom, 'Oh, I don't like monograms.'  

Me:  'Oh, I do!'  

Either sister would have cancelled the monogram detail on the table.  

Me (to my sisters and my mom):  'Thanks for coming to see my new kitchen.  Try not to spill that Kool Aid that you all drink on my new table.' 


Gigi said...

You are nicer than I am - if that was my favorite name for my future daughter that is the name she would have - but I'm ornery that way sometimes.

C. Kennedy said...

I love the monogram...not that it matters, what matters is that you love it!

Good for you for creating some boundaries, I know it is difficult :-)

Ernie said...

I went that route when I had my 4th boy. I no longer cared. She took some form of every name that I liked for her 4 kids. It is hard to find a boy's name that Coach and I really liked FOUR TIMES!!!
When I named him Reggie - a name she had already used 9 years earlier- she didn't speak to me for a year. My whole family rallied around her. Poor her. Poop. Honestly her son is small and will always be small. He was excited to have a cousin with the same name, AND it was the only chance he had at EVER being called 'Big Reggie.'

Ernie said...

Thanks, I was super excited at how it turned out. The opposite corner of the table has a celtic design. Shock. I love it! Oh, sisters. I think my sisters and I have the oddest family dynamics in the universe. More on that soon. :O