Tall Drink of Nerd: Family Order


a blogumn by Amy Robinson

In the spirit of Ernessa’s Month of Minefields, I would like to toss in my own sparkly firecracker.  This isn’t going to be as controversial as her blogumns on inter-racial marriage, (honestly, I was surprised that inter racial marriage/relationships are still controversial, but I am living in my naïve world where love trumps race or gender.). My tender spot hits close to home.  How do you fit in the family?  Me, I’m the black(ish) sheep.

My family is populated with incredibly nice people.  We get along well.  Experiencing our recent family traumas has brought us closer together, but still… I’m different.

Run Away!

One of these things is not like the others.

I am the weirdo, oddball in my family.  How did I get this distinction?  As the fifth child, my role in our house was to be the spoiled baby girl.  It’s a part I embraced in an embarrassing way as a snotty teenage girl.  After I moved thousands of miles away, they were left with that residual image of me.

That was the start.  Now, everything I think or believe is pretty much contrary to the rest of the brood, and it is all the biggies: politics, religion and breeding.

I avoid talking about those subjects when I am home.  My family has a very High conflict avoidance gene.  If it isn’t necessary to disagree, then why do it, is the Henry motto.  The religion and family creation are the smaller pieces of our disconnection.  While every one in the family has their own religious belief, I respect their viewpoint and their faith, even if it isn’t mine.  I know that they love me as I am, even if they think I’ll be Left Behind.

I’ve come more into the fold after I married my main man Seen.  My folks, and a few siblings, weren’t happy when we were living together for 11 years before the wedding day.  As for kids, the little feet pitter pattering in my house are covered with fur.  They’re called cats (not mutant, furry children.)  Of the 12 people over the age of 20 in my family, only one fellow Henry is without a baby.  She will be getting married next June.  I think she’s making plans for progeny, but I don’t want to put words in her mouth.

The politics has gotten to be a much bigger elephant in the room in the past 9 years as the country under our feet has divided itself more.  The only people I feel moderately comfortable being honest and open with are my sister and my mother.  Even then, I play it very close to the vest.  I do stand up for the viewpoints I think are critically important, like civil rights for gay people, but most political disagreements seem ridiculous to argue with relatives. Time is too limited.

I’m curious to see how you guys handle family conflict and your differences?  Do you argue your point until the wee morning hours?  Did you move to another state?  Has it been 5 years since you talked to your brother because you voted for W and he was a Kerry man?  Have you blocked your cousin from Facebook?  Or do you fit in, like a corner piece of blue sky on your family puzzle?