Extended Family Dynamics

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I'm beginning to get a complex.

What is so difficult about visiting? Just a plain ol' family visit. Drop by, come in and catch up on everyone's personal current events.

My dad was doing well. He's semi-retired this year - very available to visit - and I very nearly had him perfectly trained: call first, don't tease the already-skittish-enough dog from the street side of the screen door on your way in. He would come to visit during the day when I wasn't making a meal or chauffeuring a kid. He would have a coffee and we would chat. Nice chats, too. We'd talk about his parents, my grandparents, who have both passed on. He'd tell me about spending time in 'the bush' or at 'the cabin'. It's always quite amusing to listen to him go on about my mother's latest exploits. I especially liked our conversations about religion - there's no better way to worship than to find a big ol' field, plop yourself down in the middle of the grassy sunshine, count your blessings for an hour or four and call it church.

Most recently, my dad's visits have consisted of him dropping in (whats happened to the pre-visit phone call?!) and dropping off. My front hallway was the repository for a rogue PC that my sister knew something about. She'd be by to explain. The explanation involved a couple of hours of my Mr. A's button pushing. Colour me not impressed.

Then, there was a mysterious bolt of fabric in a bag with some other lumpiness that was, thankfully, retrieved by someone or other while I was out.

Then, there was today's box. Just a box. Again, my sister would be by to retrieve it. And she was: There was a discreet tapping on our door at 1pm today. Just quiet enough to not interrupt my reading aloud to the children. And just loud enough to send Skittish White Dog into a bristling, barking, scrambling slide across the hardwood. I got a 'hi' from sister dearest as the door opened, a 'thanks' as I handed her the box that I knew she was here for and then, as she was closing the door on her way out, she turned back to me and said, 'Oh, how's things? What are you guys up to today?'

Dishes and schoolwork, I answered. Because that is the crazy-ass, adrenalin pumping, risky business that I am attempting today. If I'd had a bit of notice (or if I thought she was dropping by to visit) I could have come up with something a little more creative and conversational. Perhaps if I knew she was coming I could have invited her to lunch where her inquiry might have seemed a little more genuine.

I know what a genuine inquiry sounds like because just two days ago my brother called with one. He genuinely wants me to purchase the products he is selling. Granted, he didn't drop anything off in my hallway. But I find it curious the way he is available to stop by any time to 'talk business' yet can't show up when I make him a dinner he's accepted an invitation to.

I figure I must be missing something. It's like my extended family has it's own code of conduct and I missed the memo. Perhaps my status quo isn't exciting enough for them. Perhaps I need some more drama. I suppose I could think back and pull out a spectacular stunt from my highschool era. Although, if I recall correctly, that never really accomplished anything conducive to family visiting. Sort of the opposite, actually...

I suppose I'm just a little boring compared to the globe-trotting, gestating, house-buying, business-starting, wedding-planning hoopla that is going on amongst my collection of siblings. After all, I've been playing the same gig in the same club for ten years now. I suppose the novelty of my life choices has waned.

I really don't know why I worry about such things. I've got enough going on just trying to keep myself organized and on track. Who knows, perhaps the weekend will bring something positive and newsworthy. My complex and I will just ride it out.

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