Sticking Together: A Unique Family
Growing Up in and Unbroken Home
One of my first memories is being approached by kindergarten classmates and being asked "Do you live with your mom or your dad?" When I answered both, the other kids looked at me like I was crazy, "No really, which one?" In a society where divorce was quickly becoming the norm, my family was a bit of an enigma to most of my childhood friends. Logically speaking my parents started out all wrong too: They married young, after knowing each other just a few weeks and not only had one child within the first year but three children within the first four years! My mom often joked that their lunch meat was bologna because that's what my grandmother said when she heard about my parents union. Lots of people said it would never last, but my parents would spend the next thirty-one years proving them wrong. Even my older sister, who was the product of my father's first marriage, gained all of the benefits of two sets of parents who left the past in the past and got along famously throughout her childhood and beyond. Never once did any of us ever feel unloved and I don't recall ever seeing my parents get into a serious argument. They always supported us in school, sports, plays and anything else we decided to do.
An Enormous But Close Extended Family
My mother was the ninth of ten children and my father was the third of five siblings so we grew up with aunts, uncles and cousins to spare. Since before I was born, my mother's mother has hosted a monthly family gathering where all the birthdays that month are celebrated. Because of this we are close to all of our cousins, whether they're first, second or even third. My dad's family sees each other a little less frequently but there is no less love felt from them. Most of our family lives relatively close to one another, out of everyone only a small number live outside of the state of Indiana, and in fact several of us live right around the corner from one another.
If you come around our family you will notice some of our odd interests and activities. One of my uncles owns a party rental company so our gatherings often include bounce houses, rock climbing walls, train rides and other fun stuff. My mother, father and a few of my aunts and uncles have also attended clown college. Other talents (performed by both clowns and non-clowns) include juggling, unicycle riding, stilt walking, swimming, pole-vaulting, painting, sculpting... the list goes on and on. Yes visiting our family is a lot like visiting a three ring circus but without the cost of admission!
Testaments to Longevity
My mother's parents have been married for almost seventy years now. My grandmother is eighty-four and my grandfather is ninety-two. Both of their mothers lived to be in their mid-nineties. Both of my maternal grandparents have siblings who have lived well into their eighties and beyond. Almost no one on my mother's side of the family smokes and there is very little recent history of alcohol or drug abuse. Mostly what we've known are family members who live full rich lives and pass away at a ripe old age, surrounded by the people who encompass the legacy they began all those years ago.