The rascal’s family.
I don’t write much about family. I don’t like to tell other people’s stories. But Genie had the following topic for June’s Living Out Loud, so I thought I would expand upon the subject of family for a little bit.
“Are there certain things that you do that remind you of your parents? Are there certain qualities one of your parents has that you wish you had? Do you fidget with a pencil just like your dad? Do you smile just like your mom (even if what the other person said wasn’t that funny)? Are there things that your parents did that you never understood until now?”
I know I laugh like my mother, I know my facial expressions show like my father. My smooth, youthful-looking skin comes from Mom, my ability to both crunch numbers and write well comes from Dad.
It is only because I have seen my siblings in action during this week’s vacation that I remember that we will all carry reminders of our parents for years to come. And that even their children have begun to ensure that another generation will carry those same reminders.
The way my sister hurried to pay the restaurant bill the other night before I got a chance, just as my mother did months ago while visiting us. Or how Sister takes her career and her children’s educations seriously like Dad.
The way my brother sat at the table after dinner with his hands folded exactly like my father last night. Or how Brother handles his infant daughters with a gentle caring touch like Mom.
There are less than desirable traits we carry from our parents. Anxiety and sadness are not unknown to the three of us. Sometimes these traits have taken over our lives, sometimes entailing running away from the others (both literally and figuratively). But every family has its darker moments, right? Every child wants to split off from the rest, right?
Recently, I learned my father ran away from home when he was a teenager just as my brother would do years later. I’m not talking about sneaking off to a friend’s house for the weekend or heading to the next town over for a few hours, I’m talking states away from home. It proved that we all have a sense of adventure (or a need to escape), something I thought my father gained when he joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school. Little did I know! (Of course, my father’s inner Marine came to light when my brother made his own escape a couple decades later.)
I left the Midwest years and years ago to build my own life, to shed the stigma of being the youngest of the bunch. Now the time has come to remember family and to embrace all of the traits that make my mother Mom, my father Dad, my sister S, my brother B, and that make me Rascal.
If I have learned anything from my recent illness and surgeries, it is that family caring and concern is contained in the backbone of healing. Talking to my mom on the phone more often, exchanging e-mail with my siblings more often, connecting with my sister’s teenage children on Facebook – this is what has helped make a horrible experience much easier.
And when all was done and over, I was able to make this trip to show them all that I am doing well. That I’m still Rascal, even if I’m all grown up and showing those traits gained from Mom and Dad, for better or for worse.