We Are Family

I learned on Thursday that it was National Siblings Day. I had meant to write then, but haven’t really found the time or energy until now. I know most people posted pictures of their families, but for me my photo is usually my writing.

I mentioned briefly in my intro post that I have been blessed with a fairly large family of five sisters and a cousin who may as well be a brother. They are, from eldest to youngest, the twins who were born in December of 76, my next eldest sister born in 78, my cousin born in 80, another sister born in 81, and the final sister born in 84. Yes, we were bunched tightly together, with each of us six not including my cousin oddly sharing birth months of December, September, and May with the sibling right behind us in age. Interesting how that worked out.

According to a LiveJournal poll I did once, because we all know my polls are strictly scientific and conducted using rigorous research standards, ha ha, it would seem that my family size is atypical. I think it’s becoming even more so as people decide to defer or put off having children altogether. I sometimes wonder how my mom managed to work hard enough to keep us all housed, clothed and fed; but that’s a good mother for ya.

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Family is everything to a person: where he’s been, where he’s going, and who he is. Whether these consist of biologically related units or not doesn’t much matter, but it’s more about the value system in which one is raised.

I can’t say that I always enjoyed that chaotic structure, wishing often to be in a household where I was the only child. Looking back though, I am glad I experienced having to negotiate for everything from use of the bathroom to what we would listen to on the radio. I believe that these skills have made me a more sensitive, understanding person, right? Right? Ah well, who am I kidding!

My sisters, especially the older ones, raised me with tough love. They used to play tricks on me that I’m surprised haven’t landed me in therapy somewhere. Buzzing around my head like bees, giving me pickled pepper juice and saying it was koolade, and how about the 9-volt battery thing? It was all good though, because I eventually learned to give as good as I got!

I think at heart though, they were always well-meaning. And let anyone else try to hurt me, or anyone else in our family for that matter. Uh uh! They’d become a roving pack of wolves, and the individual who’d made that choice would suddenly develop superior track skills as he or she made an escape.

If asked what the greatest gift my sisters gave to me was, it would be the joy of books and reading. At different times in their development, each of them would practice their skill of reading aloud with me as test subject. Well the twins were talented enough to write their own stories really, some of which were quite good.

I remember sometimes entering the bathroom with my youngest sister so we could find a little quiet, locking the door, and reading the climax of some book or series for hours. I’m kind of amused that my mom didn’t kick us out of there for doing that.

My youngest sister also equipped me with a great imagination. But, I think ultimately my cousin and I were the best creators of fictional worlds from practically nothing. He got me interested in acquiring knowledge by spinning elaborate tales of World War 2 Era figures, their families and all, only using the two of us to voice the many characters. It seems we never even needed to stop and ask about the direction the story would take, we somehow just knew and followed each other. It was improv to the max. We called this unique skit-making “Playing something,” and as with everything else in my childhood, we could go at it for hours. I think my family probably taught me to fully dedicate myself to a task or hobby, but I can’t say how well that lesson stuck. I think my cousin and I discontinued this game when, sadly, there was to be someone firing through the window of a world leader’s car, and right at that moment a rock flew through our room window! I feel I’ve told that story before, but whatever. I have old-man syndrome.

So that’s a bit about the fascinating and varied people who worked together to make me me. I am happy to have been assigned to this special group of individuals, and believe that we, like most of course, are bringing our own brand of crazy to the masses. Here’s to my family!

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