NORMAN — The antics of humans must be a great source of amusement to the gods. Then just to make things a touch more interesting a hodgepodge of relatives is thrown in the already muddled mix.
It would be nice if the front office would give us a say in the selection of immediate family members. Granted it is our differences which make life interesting and challenging, but a little compatibility of personalities and goals would be a nice change.
As is the case with many families, the mother provides the calm and cohesion among the disparate “factions” also known as siblings. But if she dies, some of the unifying threads may be frayed or destroyed. Yes, the basic love for family members lingers on because they are after all blood kin and we are raised to love one another. In most cases, love should be sufficient to carry folks through difficult patches and enable everyone to be civil to one another.
However, the differences in temperament and personalities, which may have caused minor clashes between siblings when they were children, can sometimes be magnified and more difficult to deal with when the siblings become adults. Well, some may be adults physically but not always emotionally. Depending on their personalities and personal experiences and needs, some may or may not carry baggage from childhood which becomes incorporated into the adult psyche. Consequently, some siblings become less tolerable while the others become less tolerant.
There are times when folks may relate to the often uttered opinion of Popeye’s daddy, Poopdeck Pappy. With little or no encouragement, the old guy would stare at Popeye and snarl, “I hates relatives!” Not very nice to be sure, but then Popeye cartoon characters were not the epitome of refinement and tact.
The element that is often overlooked during the creation of the various concoctions of relatives is the end result of such mixtures as well as the profound significance of parental influence. For better or for worse, not only do parents receive their little high maintenance bundles of joy without care and handling instructions, but the most important information is also omitted. Every parental action and every word parents utter has long range consequences.
Yes, there are countless books on child-rearing, many of which are later debunked due to information which comes to light about the author or a flaw discovered years after the damage is done regarding some erroneous social engineering experiment du jour. Some may recall that at one time, Dr. Spock was the last word in child care. However, as is always the case and according to http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/biography-benjamin-spock/583.aspx:
“Yet for all his compassionate advice to the mothers of the world, Spock mirrored his father's inability to give his own sons the love they needed. Grandson Peter's suicide and Spock's divorce after 48 years of marriage (because of his wife's repeated breakdowns, induced by alcoholism and medication abuse) shattered the image of the ideal family man.
The life of Benjamin Spock is an amazing story of publicly displayed success that hid a private world of familial dysfunction. It is also the story of how Freud's humanistic philosophies were surreptitiously introduced into the mainstream of American family life — with clearly questionable consequences.”
The lesson being let your common sense and parental love guide you and not a best-selling author’s book.
After giving birth to one of the siblings, Mother was reading “Dr. Zhivago” in the hospital. A chatty nurse remarked, “I used Dr. Spock as my child-raising guide.” Clearly, the woman’s literary knowledge was limited.
So, dear hearts, when the aura from any given relative is overwhelming and oppressive, take a fortifying breath and remember that the interesting thing about humans is that some of us try while others can be quite trying.
Elizabeth is a freelance writer and author. Her latest novel Sins of the Father is available on amazon.com. Website: www.elizabethcowan.com.
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