So a few weeks ago I got a phone call from two out of my three favorite cousins. To put this in perspective, my entire family consists of 16 people. That includes all parents, grandparents, siblings, kids, in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I don’t talk to my cousins often, much less see them, as I live in Minnesota and they live in Pennsylvania. It was great to hear their voices and I promised I’d say something funny about them in a blog post. So here’s to you, Luise and Tom, you are funny . . . really funny.
Sorry, I’m still recovering from my brownie deprivation. I’m lucky I can type let alone form a coherent thought. Sadly, I will have to eat a whole lot more brownies in order to re-saturate my system but I’m pretty sure I’m up to the task. I could wax poetic all day on the Zen of brownies but since I’m not sure what that even means, I will move on.
As I said, my family has only 16 people. If I count the relatives in Germany that I’ve never met and have no contact with, I could bump those numbers up considerably, but that feels like cheating. Some people may feel sorry for our tiny group but I think there is a lot to be said for small families. Besides not busting our bank accounts during gift giving seasons, it’s way easier keeping up with each other’s shenanigans, er, lives. Just a couple of phone calls or texts and we are all up to speed. Sure, we have flaws but small families have to forgive and forget quickly as there is no cushion to fall back on.
The downside of a small family is that unlike large families― simply because of sheer numbers― we do not have a wide selection of colorful, eccentric, and just plain wacky members. In large families, it’s pretty easy to assign labels based on behavior/life/wardrobe choices, and political/religious/astrological affiliations. My small family has had to step it up in order to ensure all positions are filled. Some of us even have to take on multiple roles to accommodate all viewpoints and opinions. This definitely makes for interesting conversations. I don’t know what large families talk about over dinner but here is a small sampling of topics that have been covered during our gatherings:
1. Physics, math, chaos theory, entropy. (Except for my dad, who is a retired physics professor, none of us have any street cred on these topics which, of course, does not in any way, shape or form prevent us from having an opinion. . .)
2. War, peace, Roosevelt (Teddy and Franklin, plus Eleanor), healthcare, death penalty, marijuana, the Constitution, aliens. (A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. . .)
3. Birth control, abortion, teen pregnancy, sex education, fetishes (try talking about that with your 80 year old mother, who, by the way, is pretty savvy. . .)
4. Childbirth, colonoscopies, illness, injuries, and one dodgy incident involving massaging a son’s butt after football practice. (TMI. . .)
5. God, religion, reincarnation, afterlife, heaven, hell, fanatics, psychics. (We actually discovered the meaning of existence but swore secrecy oaths because many heads might explode and we don’t want to clean up that mess. . .)
It doesn’t matter whether your family is big or small because we all have at least one thing in common. We all drive each other so bonkers that sometimes we want to rip out our eyeballs ―ok, maybe not that. But we also share fun, lively, thought provoking, crazy, and memorable times together. We may have no choice about which family we are born into but, thankfully, family is family and I’m pretty sure there is a cosmic law that states they have to let you in when you come knocking.
Especially if you bring brownies. . .