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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Describe Your Family Dynamic from Childhood v. Now

Day 24: Describe your family dynamic from your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

Hmm. Well with my baby so young I'm not sure what my family dynamic is now. 

I grew up as the middle child of three girls. My older sister is a little less than two years older than me, my younger sister a little more, so we're pretty evenly spaced. My parents were and are happily married. Just before I turned three our home burned down and we moved in with my maternal grandparents. Shortly after, my father was laid off, so we ended up staying there four years. They were very happy years, at least for us kids. We saw extended family fairly often as my whole family was from that area in New Jersey where we were living, though branches of it had already moved away. 

Then my parents discovered the affordability of the South Carolina area and we moved away as well. Then we were isolated, we had no other family in the deep south. Still, we had a pretty happy family dynamic. My father was, and is, pretty quiet and doesn't talk a lot but is a kind man who while not overtly emotional never hesitates to tell us "I love you too" when we initiate it. He worked a lot and actually in some ways I felt like I didn't get to know him too well until I was 16 and went on the weekends to work at the grocery store he manages. My mother is warm and bubbly and the kind of person who got upset when she forgot the mailman's birthday. She however got cancer not too long after we moved down to South Carolina and wasn't able to do a lot physically. She survived but she also has fibromyalgia. She was a stay at home mom most of my life, though she got jobs here and there when it was financially necessary, like when Dad got laid off or during periods when we were tight to pay the bills. She is very affectionate and loving, though also a bit quick silver in her temper which is the downside of her emotional availability. She and I are a lot alike, however. Mom and Dad's marriage has always been rock solid in my memory. That's not to say they never fought, but I never was afraid of them divorcing or anything for more than a single evening (and that from irrational insecurities from overhearing them fight.) They always greeted (and still do most of the time) each other at the door with a kiss. They are friends and enjoy each other. We did have to talk to my dad via my mom a lot. My dad's initial reaction to anything we approached him with was "no", so often we'd approach Mom to try to win her over as our advocate, since he listened to her more than us. 

My older sister is a perfectionist, though she says college helped cure her of the worst of that, but growing up she had it bad. She also took her responsibility as the oldest a bit too seriously at times. She's always been the most active of us and did first gymnastics until she injured her growth plate, then briefly cheerleading for a year in elementary school, then volleyball and track from middle school until graduation, including going to state multiple times. She also always, always wanted to be a doctor (until she didn't, in ninth grade, and decided to become a teacher) and growing up she was always making us play doctor in various forms. We'd be say, having our toys go on the way to a wedding and she'd be like "And then there's a car crash and they have to go to the hospital!!" and then construct casts for them out of toilet paper. Probably half our games involved medical procedures of some sort when she played. My younger sister is, and was passionate. She was, being younger than me, almost always up for playtime. At times I'd play with one, at times the other, at times all three of us would get together, and at times I wanted to be alone. I remember especially wanting to be left alone with books and my younger sister getting irritated at me. She was usually up for doing what I wanted and she and I had games that were just us like "Ba-ba Land." She also ran a "detective agency" out of her room for a while, then later a "museum". Oh and one time we got into a spaghetti fight and there are still stains on the ceiling of her old bedroom... Still, all in all we all three got along and loved each other. During different parts of my childhood I shared a bedroom with one or the other; I didn't get my own room until my older sister left for college when I was 16.

As for my current dynamic, well, with a newborn we're still figuring it out! Ryan and I are pretty loving and demonstrative with each other and with Genevieve as well... as for the rest of it we're not sure. We've decided I'll stay at home unless financially necessary, though at the same time I can pursue writing as I'm able. I'm really liking being a mom. She's infinitely lovable.

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