Mailbag #8

A reader asks:

Can you tell me something about your family? Describe your immediate and extended family.

Several actually read this blog. I’ll leave it up to them to reveal themselves (or not) but here’s some general information.

My parents live in Arizona, have been married for 31 years and spent the first two decades of their relationship pastoring a series of small Charismatic and independent churches in the U.S. My mom is a psychiatric nurse and my dad drives a pedal cab. I’m the oldest of their three adult kids.

Drew and I have been married for seven years. He’s also an oldest child and his three sisters live in and around the Toronto area. None of his siblings are married or have children. I’ve noticed many people who were born in urban Canada tend to delay these things until their 30s which is a big cultural difference between Toronto and small town Ohio!

Someday I want to gather all of our siblings together in the same room. I think they’d be instant friends.

Back to my side of the family…

Brother #1 got married a few months before we did. He’s finishing up a teaching degree and lives in Ohio with his wife and their five-year-old son who just started Kindergarten. My sister-in-law works as a baker and at a department store.

Brother #2 is single, works as an accountant and lives in Ohio.

As a group we love to tease one another and joke around irreverently.  The best vacations of my life have involved swimming, hiking and eating out with my immediate family as everyone gets along so well. We’re not perfect by any means but I think it’s pretty cool to see so many happily married (and single!) people in one family. From what I’ve observed this is not always the case.

Both of my parents have multiple siblings so my extended family errs on the side of large. I don’t see most of them regularly because so we’re so scattered across North America but I do try to keep in touch online.  Three of my four grandparents are still alive, though, and I have one step-grandparent as well. I don’t know how many cousins I have as every time I sit down to figure it out someone else gets married or has a baby. 😉

Do you have a question for me? Submit it through the contact form or in the comment section of this post. 


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5 Responses to Mailbag #8

  1. I live in Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) as does my father.
    I’ve have extremely little contact with my father for the past 2-3 years. (It’s a long story).
    My mother passed away when I was 19 (26 years ago – yes, it still hurts).
    I am the oldest of 2 adult children and I have spoken with my sister as often as I have with my father (same long story).
    I have been married for 22 years and we have two children. My son, 16 (whose autistic) and my daughter, 14.
    My wife has two siblings. A younger sister who actually works for/with her (my wife owns and operates a catering business) and an estranged older brother. Both of my wife’s parents are still alive but unfortunately we have no contact with (A decision was made several years ago to remove hateful and toxic people from our – and more importantly – our children’s lives).
    (Wow! When I spell things out this way it makes us look like pretty bad people. Yikes! Please take my word for it, none of these decisions were made lightly.)
    I have what could be called a third ‘branch’ of my family. (Outside of my father’s side or my mother’s side). My grandfather – during the second world war – had an affair with a british maid. She got pregnant and was deported back to the U.K. where she gave her baby up for adoption. (The baby went into a orphanage run by the British navy and was brought up into a Naval Career).
    It was only decades later that he found us (in his retirement) and reestablish family ties and connections. He has 3 adult chilren (around my age) each with their own children.
    Cool, eh?! We’ve been over to visit him twice since.
    I wish I had better family members. 🙁
    …but we as a family (immediate) are quite happy!

    • I’ve never cut off a family member but speaking for me and my better half there are people in our lives with whom we purposefully limit contact.

      Every one of us must figure out for themselves what s/he can and cannot handle and how s/he will respond if those boundaries aren’t respected. I’d never judge you for having little or no contact with some of your relatives. Relationships can be messy and how an individual presents themselves to the outside world is not always the person they are in private.

      I think it would be a big mistake for anyone not intimately familiar with those involved to dictate what someone else can or should handle.

      That story about your grandfather is a great one, though. Did he know about the baby from the beginning or did he find out years later?

      • My grandfather? We’ll never know because he has long since passed away. I suspect that he did. There’s was curious story about a (hundred year old) pocket watch that I have – family heirloom to be passed onto my son on his 18th. My grandfather never gave it to my father, but had it kept for my when I turned 18. (It goes to the elders sons). My father should have been the eldest son of my grandfather. Now, in light of my uncle’s existence (whose older than my father) it all makes sense. So, yes, I believe my grandfather knew.

  2. twyseschoch

    This is a fun post. I’m imagining Lydia and Drew’s siblings in one room. It would be an enjoyable mix of chaos, irreverance, and humor.

    Oh … And I will self disclose as the psych nurse mom.

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