I have no exciting plans for my birthday other than to eat lunch with my parents and drive back home to Nashville.
My dad made sure to point out that he was my age when I was born and he apologized for the wedding joke he was going to tell at church. He even offered to marry me off to the Man from GM, but I said that, though I adore him, when we’re together, all we do is fight. And my dad said, “That’s all your mom and I do.”
America, you may get the impression from reading Tiny Cat Pants that my family is extremely loving and close, which is true, and that we have some kind of perfect relationship, which is so not true.
Honestly, I feel like I’m annoyed or angry at my folks most of the time, but one of the things I get out of this writing is that, I realize, when I tell stories about my my family, I hardly ever talk about the things they do or have done that piss me off. In fact, though I feel like I’m frequently mad at them, I think my default emotion for them is genuine fondness.
Frankly, that’s been a revelation.
It makes fighting with them easier. For most of my life, I rarely fought with anyone in my family, because I was afraid that once I started, there’d just be this bottomless pit of animosity towards them.
(I told the Professor once that I’m convinced that everyone carries around their own little hell inside them and that, with good friends, you can open up the gates a little bit and let them peer in there and them telling you that what they see in there isn’t so bad can be healing, but that we owe it to others not to throw the gates wide open and turn that on our loved ones.)
But now, I know, at the core, that I adore these crazy, fucked up people. The bickering, the snide comments, the public discussion about how fat I am, the attempts to hook me up with nice Christian men, the assumption that I have nothing better to do with my life than to act as Mary Poppins to the whole damn lot of them, the dragging in of every wayward asshole and expecting me to be hospitable to people who are evil and insane, that’s all still true. And it still pisses me off.
But that doesn’t mean I hate them. At the bottom, once you clear all that stuff away, I love them, a whole lot, and think I’m much better for having them in my life.
Is this another benefit of getting older, I wonder? Figuring out the best way for oneself to navigate nearly impossible emotional landscape?
If so, then I’m looking forward to next year as well.