I have an interesting family. Really, we’re very out of the ordinary. And very different from one another.
And, sometimes, four days together in my sister’s 1,100-square-foot house with her new husband and her dog can be interesting as well.
I’ve told you all about my stay-at-home, do-the-laundry, amazing Dad and my Mom, who I still haven’t friended on Facebook, by the way (please be patient with me). Now, I’ll tell you about the rest of my family, in hopes that they’re something like your family — except not really at all.
First, there’s my sister, Dana.
Enough said? Probably.
Nah, just kidding. Dana is the person who raised me. I mean, my parents were there, but she was the one who dressed me (in various neon outfits with side-ponytails), taught me to love NKOTB and to play sports like my life depended on it. I told a story in my maid-of-honor speech at her wedding last month that will explain this all perfectly:
When I was little, my mom would ask me, “Who do you love the most, Lauren?” And I would look back at her and say, “Dana.” (And then Dana would look at Mom and say, “See.”)
I will never not want to be just like my sister…(which makes her recent wedding a bit of a challenge for me). Other than the fact that she is a counselor and I could never do that.
Then, there’s my big brother. Paddy to everyone he’s ever known since college; Patrick to us.
Patrick is a Jesuit priest…(that’s Catholic). They’re the really cool ones who run colleges and all-boys high schools around the country whose students love them and tell stories about the secret kegs they have hidden in a closet somewhere on campus. And my brother is pretty cool.
He is a passionate philosopher, teacher, learner — and a passionate Brewer’s fan. He is the one who led me to journalism, actually. Not that he meant to, really. Well, he did mean to lead me to Fordham (a Jesuit university) and he did mean for the Jesuits there to instill in me a sense of duty akin to something in Star Wars. (In fact, the whole family has a theory that Patrick really became a Jesuit because he thinks he’s a Jedi. He’ll even point out that George Lucas named the Jedis after the Jesuits).
In other words, because of Patrick, I knew I had to do something for others with my life.
That’s right, this guy right here — Pabst in hand — has set the standard for morals in our family.
But family is an odd thing like that, isn’t it?
And all of the oddities come out when all five of you spend an extended weekend together over food, wine (Scotch for the Jesuit), board games and way too much football on TV. At one point when we were playing Catch Phrase — the greatest game known to mankind — I shouted “it’s like Dad’s head!” My brother yelled, “balderdash!”
The nicknames also come out over the holidays. According to my Dad, I am “Fork,” “Squirt” or “Little-Biggie.” I couldn’t really tell you why. Dana is “Biggie” (she loves that) and Patrick is almost inevitably “Spud.” He doesn’t seem to mind. Or notice. It has also been established that I am my mother’s doppelganger. It’s getting embarrassing.
Nobody can get to you more than family. Nobody has shaped you more. And nobody else will refrain from judging you while you scarf down the largest plate of food you’ve eaten all year…because they are too. Here’s what Patrick and my sister’s new husband, Brandon (he doesn’t normally have that stache, but he should) looked like after the big meal. Mmmmm.
Hope you enjoy the holidays with your family!