27 March, 2017

Dysfunctional Family Delights

The Camellias are awesome this year.

Is it ever gonna stop raining?

My mom and her niece.

My cousin died Saturday night. She was only 60, so this came as a surprise to many of us. I'll be 54 in May and if I still received a state newspaper, I'd be scanning those obituaries.

This cousin hails from my maternal relatives. Sunday, we got together for a family memorial service and the house was loud and joyful with many stories of said cousin floating around the rooms. 

You have the usual family problems in this room - alcoholism, autism, too conservative for nice words, etc. This side just steamrolls over all that. All are welcome. Good natured teasing is required and these relatives know how to laugh at themselves.

On my paternal side, we suffer from the usual as well; mental illness and depressions that cause family members not to talk to each other for decades, too conservative and too liberal. It's a much smaller clan. They are very sensitive.
No steam rolling here. Arguments fester in silence. Silent treatment is the preferred way of dealing with things.

I am fond of saying, "All you gotta do is be polite," and my kids were raised to "show up." It's a family obligation. You may not have much in common or get easily frustrated but, 'just be polite' handles most situations.

I loved this family get-together. I see these people every year or two, not that often. I can recognize them but my inability to remember names is laughingly put aside as everyone embraces and kisses and hugs and teases. I just love it.

Everyone knows the value of family, but how many know how to encourage it?
How does one embrace the better attitude?

Are you prone to laughing at your foibles or do you take it personally and get affronted when confronted with family?

I've been behind in writing letters - especially to my children who no longer live nearby. Older people, especially, love to receive letters. Have you written one this month?

I go in spurts but my serious overtime gets to me and I get bogged down in minutia. Grab a card from the dollar store and address the envelope. What stops me is thinking I need to write my life's story inside. Just sign your name and throw a stamp on and send.

Steam roll over your "too much thinking, not enough doing" inner voice and just do it.
Time's too short to hang on to festering family troubles. Move on.

Photo credit: Katrina in Sitka

Still no sewing. Busy dodging rain showers and working too much. And writing cards.


  1. Dear Kathy, sorry for your loss...your words sound as though you have gained much insight into the beauty of being a good human, wife and mother. I am so happy you are able to appreciate your family in all their glory.
    Much love, Mary K.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your cousin. I am sure she will be fondly remembered by all.

  3. De-lurking to say that this is a very meaningful post for me - I need to do better on staying in touch. So sorry to hear of the loss that sparked the family gathering.


  4. I'm glad you learned to behave in the open forgiving way instead of the other. Family relations are tricky and scary sometimes. I have 2 siblings that have a very snarky way of relating to me and I cannot stand snark. But I continually brush it aside and love them anyway - even thought I see the negativity of the remarks. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

    1. I truly enjoy my maternal side of the family and how the steamrolling translates to love and support.

  5. Sorry for your loss. But what a beautiful photo of your Mom and your cousin so happy together. A wonderful way to remember her.

  6. So sorry to hear about your cousin - that's no age at all. Glad you were able to celebrate her life. Xxxx

  7. Sorry for your loss. I just turned 55.. no idea how that happened! I also just lost my Dad. This was a very interesting and timely read.

  8. Sorry about your loss, Kathy - but that is a wonderful picture of your mom and her niece/your cousin :)

    Families are --- yeah - they ARE. Fun and loving and awesome and crazy and annoying and bad and forever and everything in between. And I suspect we wouldn't have it any other way!

    I haven't written a letter this month - I don't send many hand written letters or notes, but this weekend I'm getting out my pretty ladybug cards to send a "Hello!" note to my friend's aunt ... whom I also call Auntie :) She's 90 and a total hoot, but hasn't been feeling 100% lately, so I'm going to send her a joke by snail mail - I know it will make her smile :D (It'll be a short joke though because other than signing my signature on a credit card purchase when needed, my hands don't stand up to much writing!)


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