The Cynical Dad – Family

I look at my kids, tearing strips off each other, and I wonder how long it’s going to last.

Not this particular fight (where 2 are arguing over who kicked who first), but this phase of not being able to stand each other’s presence.

I cast my mind back to when I was growing up, fighting with my 3 sisters. God, we used to really go at each other, particularly those either side of me. I see the same pattern with my 3 – eldest and youngest get on OK but any other combination causes eruptions.

We would fight over all the usual things – invading ‘my space’ in the back of the car, someone setting foot in the wrong bedroom and the classic ‘she recorded over MY tape!’ (cassette or VHS, take your pick).

While the subject matter has changed over the years, the vitriol with which siblings attack each other hasn’t lessened. Again, I wonder when my sisters and I evolved from mortal enemies hating each other to actually wanting to spend time with each other.

I cannot stress enough the importance of family, especially when you have kids.

You rely heavily on your own parents for advice and babysitting. Both my mother and my mother in-law have always been there to provide relief and sanctuary, not to mention allow for the occasional night out.

And both my father and father in-law have become the stereotypical granddads; keenly interested in their grandsons’ sporting achievements, while doting on their granddaughters. My sisters have become more than friends – they are advisors and psychotherapists.

We all have friends we tell stuff to. And then we have close friends we tell difficult and personal things to. But with family – you can tell them all the really messed up shit.

And they generally won’t judge you for it. OK, they will, but they’ll still accept it and you and move on. OK, that’s partly because they have to, but mostly it’s because they’ve seen you at your best and at your worst; when you’ve been carefree, innocent and happy; and when you’ve been broken and at your lowest. Well my family has anyway.

I hope you’re lucky enough to have a family that’s been there for you too.

They say you don’t get to choose your family, and until I find a legal loophole proving otherwise, I’ll agree with that statement. But I also have to say I wouldn’t swap mine for a minute, even if the youngest is still spoiled…


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