Monday, June 17, 2013

One Big Happy Family

Brittany’s fiancé has met my extended family and the wedding is still on. My brother and sisters and I threw a party for my mom’s birthday in Chicago last month and just about everyone flew in for the weekend, including Brittany and Dan. I’m always a little surprised by how large my family is. We don’t live anywhere close to any of them and it isn’t that often we all get together, so when we do I’m a bit shocked.

It turned out to be a good time for Dan to meet everyone because there were so many other things going on he wasn’t the center of attention. However he was quickly adopted as a member of the “outlaws”. (Other families call those people who marry into their families “in-laws”, but not ours. This brave group chose their own nick name early on and every family photo session includes a picture of them.)

This kind of got me thinking about how some groups are easier to fit into then others and also how people act differently with different groups. For instance I act one way with my current and local friends and another when I’m with my family: becoming my mom’s “baby”, my siblings’ little sister or my nieces’ aunt.

I’m really not surprised Dan slid in with barely a ripple though. I once heard a joke that all you have to do is have a long layover at O’Hare airport and Chicagoans will accept you as one of their own. My mid-western family is like that; very easy going and welcoming. Blood relation, “outlaw”; everyone’s treated the same.

Because we were both raised that way John and I always expect to fit into any group easily too. A couple weekends ago we went to Charleston for both Mother’s Day and Brittany and Dan’s birthdays. They had a barbeque one night and we really enjoyed hanging out with their friends. We’re used to having friends of all ages and got quite competitive in a rousing game of Catch Phrase after dinner. When the party was over though John asked me, “Did you notice their friends kept calling us mom and dad?” I had. And it seemed a little strange because I’d been thinking of them as peers all evening.

But like Dan in Chicago, we were accepted. In one role or another! Just one big happy family!

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