Monday, July 29, 2013

Implosion

I found out, this evening, that my mother's side of the family is actually pretty big.  I suppose that's only to be expected, considering that my granddad was the oldest of many kids; however, I have met only a couple of my mother's cousins.

Imagine my surprise when, this evening, one of my distant cousins contacts me through Facebook to invite me to the family reunion, mentioning that she didn't know how to get in contact with my grandad's kids, or grandkids.  My mother, aunts, and cousins (my late uncle's kids--my aunts never had any...thank God). 

I have not only never met this person, but never even heard of this person.  Nor have I heard much about her mother or grandmother--my mom's cousins. 

And then, it strikes me.  My mother and aunts are isolated from my grandad's family.  I'm not entirely sure if it's by their own choices, or by my late grandmother's choices.  At least, initially.  Now, it's all on them.

My mother, younger full sister, and my aunts just keep drawing in on themselves, not trying to stay in contact with my late uncle's sons, not trying to stay in contact with anyone outside their immediate circle. 

I sometimes wonder if they'd stay in contact with me, if I weren't so insistent on making sure my kids got to know my family.

And every year, my family's circle of acquaintances gets smaller and smaller, as people they know either die off, or quit talking to them. 

And every year, I see my mother's family--my family--come a little closer to imploding under the weight of their own strangeness and age.

6 comments:

  1. Question is, do you want to get to know these strangers? You think you could ask your Mom, et al, about them?

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    1. It's about five hours away--not doable with two small children, especially not during semester when I'll be working on grading anyway.

      And I'm not good with people--how I ended up loving teaching, I'll never quite understand.

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  2. When I first went on Facebook I tracked down some cousins that were in the same boat. Their grandfather had been the oldest of seven (mine was the second), but their mother didn't like his family and never talked about them. They literally had no idea the rest of us existed.

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    1. The thing is, my mom *talks* about her cousins all the time, but refuses to try to stay in contact with them, and I didn't realize how many were in *my* generation.

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  3. My wife's parents, 1 brother, 3/4 of the grandparents and 2/3 of her cousins are bat shit crazy and evil. The hired attorneys and prison records will vouch for this. They have had neigbors sell houses and move when they were gone on vacation just to avoid them. Consequently, my wife, my kids and I avoid all but 1 brother and a handful of cousins.
    Riley

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    1. Sounds like my dad's family--or it would, if they weren't all slick enough talkers with a talent for making the right friends to stay out of trouble. I only have contact with one older sister, and on-and-off with an older brother.

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