...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Saying, "UNCLE"...twice!

I started to write this almost two weeks ago, but got stuck on the word dysfunctional.  I've needed time to think about whether or not that's the correct word I wanted to use.  I was going to say I grew up in a slightly dysfunctional family, but I don't think or feel there was abuse present.  Maybe there was some verbal abuse from my grandfather, who called most of us by pet names, mine being Big Mouth which was more kind than what other's were called (Asshole) ...but no drugs, violence, etc.  In fact, I felt really very loved.

Maybe it's my hindsight speaking now.  As loved as I grew up feeling, for some reason I felt like I needed to get away after high school.  I went away to college and after several years there, I felt like what I had was good, but it wasn't good enough.   I do recall when I first met my husband's family that I felt they were perfect and had no problems.  They were all educated and didn't curse at one another or argue.  In fact, they vacationed together every summer for years. (Gasp) I compared my own family dynamics to my future in-laws then I created a pedestal topped with non-blood relations.  Yikes!  

For over 20 years we vacationed with my husbands clan.  About three years ago we stopped that insanity!  I am sure I am older and more wise now, having learned that no one is perfect but I also live right next door to my Mom and Pop in-law and I don't feel I need to vacation with them anymore...it's just too stressful!  

Back in June, my hubby and I took our two teens and the dog on our own vacation.  We started our travels by re-connecting with my two uncles and their wives.  

My mom grew up the oldest in a family of five children.  She'd had an older sister who died as an infant, before she turned one, from tuberculosis.  No one ever talked about that.  Between my mom and the baby in her family, there were 17 years.  My parents married when my mom turned 20 and I was born a few years later putting me just over five years younger than my closest uncle!

I am pictured below with my two uncles who are just five and seven years my elder.  I never called them "uncle" and really, for a long time, thought of them as older brothers.  I remember them playing with me when I was little, sharing their books with me (they were Tolkien fans!) and enlightening me to the world of music...Elton John, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa.  I was excited when they went off to college because we went to visit them and they cemented in my brain where I was going to go to college too.

with my "Big Brothers"  
My uncle in grey has always been so smart and adventurous.  I spent the summer after he graduated from high school being worried about him.  He took off to backpack across Europe.  I don't recall how long he was really gone, but it felt like forever!  That was before cellphones, GPS's and the Internet too!  During his college days I remember seeing pictures of him where he'd been rock climbing.  Pretty impressive stuff, climbing rock faces and having a picture of oneself being on top of the world!  From this uncle I learned that you can accomplish anything you set your mind too.  I always thought he was going to be a college professor someday.  He was a wealth of knowledge.  Seriously, he would read all the time and would be able to explain and figure anything out.  My own son reminds me of him...which I love very much!  My uncle is a very successful business man now and very soon, in his next life, will be that college professor I thought he'd become!

My uncle in red is the baby.  Which means he got away with everything!  Surprisingly, he has the biggest heart of them all.

He's the artistic one.  When he was young, he played basketball and I recall going to his games.  I think he would have been a star too, except there was an accident when he was 17.  He was coming home from work late one night and the jeep he was driving was t-boned as he drove through a green light.  It was a very bad accident.  I do not want to share the details, because he was such a fighter and I do believe things happen for a reason.  Maybe his artistic abilities were now allowed to shine.  He took up photography and had a dark room in the basement.  My brother and I were allowed "to help" when we were there.  I was sure my uncle was going to go and work for National Geographic someday.  He took amazing photos of nature.  He took up the guitar too.  He would play music on his stereo so loud in his room the whole house would rattle.  When he went to college I was not far behind him.  He looked out for me and helped my transition away from home.

The most loving memory I have of him though is that he walked me down the aisle when I married my husband twenty-five years ago.

My father died suddenly and shortly after I met my future husband.  My mom's dad (The grandpa who called me Big Mouth) was the next logical person to walk me down the aisle.  Unfortunately, about 10 months after my dad died, he died too.  At his funeral my Dad's dad rather maliciously said to me, 'Don't ask me to be number three in your line to walk you down the aisle.' My uncle over herd his comment, put his arm around me and told me not to worry, he'd be honored to walk me down the aisle.  And so he did!  See, big heart!

Five years ago when my mom died, I kind of closed my heart to all except my husband and kids. As I said, I've learned that no one is perfect, but I have also learned that I am less tolerant than I used to be. Life is too short.  I do not enjoy being stressed out and people can stress me out!

This was our first real vacation in a long time and I am glad we started it off by re-connecting with family.