If you want my child, you gotta take my kin

Family is a phenomenon that I don’t quite understand.

Everyone’s family is a bit strange – this is something I’ve been told time and again. I’d definitely say mine is no exception to that rule.

Before I go any further, let me preface this by saying that I love my family very much. I am related to them after all. While that doesn’t necessarily go with the territory, I think it should.

Still, I don’t fully understand the way that my family functions. We’re not terribly close knit – never have been. To be quite honest with you, I don’t understand families that are, though I do hope someday to have a close knit family of my own. But for my family, holidays have always been more of a time that we are forced to hang out together because that’s just what you do, not a time where we are excited about spending quality time with one another.

When I visit my extended family in Birmingham, I can’t help but think to myself, “I’m not so sure they even like me. Love me, probably. But like me? I don’t know about that.” We just don’t have that much to talk about. My sister is the bubbly, outgoing, entertaining one. I sit on the sidelines and observe. I don’t really know them, and they don’t really know me. I don’t know how to change that. Sometimes, I’m not even sure if I want to put the effort into it being any other way.

All of this concerns me. I don’t want these patterns to carry over into the family that I will someday co-lead with my husband. I want to have a good relationship with my in-laws, as well as see my husband interacting with my parents and siblings comfortably. I love my family, despite of their many quirks. (Hey, we all have them, right?) It’s important to me that the man I someday marry love them, as well. I pray, though, that the family the two of us will create together will still be altogether different than the one from which I originate.

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