Thursday, June 07, 2007

Family ties

Lt. Jay and myself. We're related.

The interaction that families have with one another is a huge interest of mine. It falls under that people watching category. Generally, how people interact is just intriguing, but seeing a family function is just plan entertaining. I've been thinking of how it looks to an "outsider" when they step into another family's atmosphere. It's a rather foreign feeling to see differences in your own life and another person's.

I've been thinking about this because my family is unusual. Well, I can't claim that my family is that unusual as I do believe that all families are unique. My family is full of loud and talkative people. There is definitely not a lack of conversation or laughter when we're all together. My immediate family (Mom, Dad, and my brother, Adam) are like peas in a pod. We're very comfortable around each other and we don't hold back our thoughts. I like that way of expressing myself as I feel it's a pretty honest way to converse with others. It holds me accountable as I know someone is going to say something to me immediately if they don't like something. Of course, it can get out of hand, but that's another story for another day.

I remember the first time my husband came to my home, he sat in one of our living room chairs with his feet up to his chest, watching us. My family must have thought he never talked as he just didn't say much. It was a bit of sensory overload I'm sure. Generally, we move from topic to topic with no particular flow to conversation, interrupting one another on a whim. We have to think quickly and talk fast or we may not get to say what we are thinking until we remember it again later. For me and most women I am friends, this is normal way of communicating.

I never realized there was a different way to hold a conversation until I met my husband's family for the first time. Maybe the shock to my husband was that he had never experienced this kind of interaction on such a concentrated level before. I went to his home and everyone waits until it's their turn to speak. Usually the catchphrase is, "Going back to what I was saying before..." There's not interrupting and you must hold your thoughts until you can speak properly. Of course, playing games is an exception to that rule. It's not so much a rule as a polite way for everyone to get a turn in the conversation.

There are two families that I find really enjoyable, similar, and even really different than my own family. My friend J.T. (I will use abbreviations as it's not my place to use their names publically) and my friend K.K. I love being with their families. J.T.'s family is very welcoming. They obviously really enjoy one another and expressing themselves is not a problem. I had never hung out with a family where they would all swear in front of one another and the parents didn't care. Now that is what I call freedom. I had also never experienced such a structured and relaxed family before. They had their routines and schedules, but it didn't feel pressured in anyway. It's a great example of how to be organized without feeling fenced in. I also love that it's easy for J.T. and her brother to say anything they like to their parents. She has a strong bond with them and can tell them absolutely anything. There is complete trust and she and her brother give their parents no reason not to trust them. I love that! Plus, even though I'm like a foot shorter than all of them, they treat me like one of their own. I love that immediately there is love. It's wonderful and no imposing in anyway.

K.K.'s family is another family that I absolutely enjoy. For the longest time I worked with K.K. not knowing that I also worked with her mother. I guess no one told me and I also never remembered people's last names so I did not make the connection. Now, there is a bond with a mother that I wish I had. It's not to say that I don't love my mom or wouldn't hang out with each other, we just tend to take each other in doses and it's probably for the better. At this stage in our lives we're still learning how to talk to one another and there are certain things that are just taboo. Truly,until I met K.K. and her brother I never knew you could say really dirty things in front of parents. I thought it was a law some where. I'm positive I've seen that written in the "Parent Manual". It's not that that's all they say to one another. Do not get that impression it's just that it's not completely illicit. I also love that she and her brother have a strong friend connection. I am really close to my brother and would tell him just about anything (minus some intimate things), but that doesn't seem to phase K.K. and her brother K.K. (I never thought about how their initials are the same). I think it's great! If they were to get into a heated debate about their opinion on something it would just spark the conversation up to a higher level. I love that they have really strong opinions and a really diverse family to support those views on life. I don't know her father as well, but from what I do know of him, he's a handy guy. I admire that they are all extremely intelligent people with extremely intelligent thoughts, but it's never expressed in a way that would make you feel stupid. Plus, who doesn't love a crafty family? Seriously, they're completely creative and I can tell where they get it from.

So, this may conclude my synopsis of other families for now. I just love stepping into other peoples' shoes at times. Every place I go has a new feel and I like trying to find that niche. I like knowing what is and isn't acceptable to some people and seeing how far they go with one another. It's refreshing and beautiful. Don't you think?

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