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When the Party Stops

When I was a child, I remember my Dad, his brother, and my sister’s godfather sitting around at parties riffing. They would crack everybody up. Parties at my house were small and infrequent, but fun. I come from a small family, just one sister, my father with just one brother, my mother was one of four but they were scattered across the country so we never saw them growing up.

My wife’s family is huge. My father in law is one of five, mother in law one of four. Three and four children families are not out of the question and it is cousins galore.

I’ve yet to figure out how I fit into this family.

With my own family I fit with my dad pretty well, and the person I can’t be around him I can definitely be around my sister.

My wife’s family just doesn’t get me. I start from the outside and work in. Her mother’s side knows I like baseball but refuse to talk to me about it, probably because they don’t want to hear my opinions on the sport. But they know nothing else about me at all. They kinda know I play guitar, but not country so it doesn’t matter. On her father’s side I don’t fish or hunt or work with my hands so I don’t really matter. They too know I play guitar, but again, it isn’t country so it isn’t anything worthwhile.

Large families can be smothering. I have no room to shine, there is no spotlight to spread around, and there is always too much going on to land a good joke. And let’s not mention the steep anxiety I feel surrounded by all these people.

Her immediate family is much of the same. They value brawn over brain and outdoors life over a bookworm. They care more for my music but not to the point where they request it honestly.

They all love me. I know it, it is undeniable. From the very first holiday I spent with her family I knew they were an honest, loving and supportive group of people. They love me in spite of me, not because of me. I long for the days of laughing at my Dad and uncle’s as they amuse the small rooms of my childhood.