Calamity Jennye

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I imagine it's what being the world's biggest rubber band ball would feel like

The other unavaiodable topic:
There's been so much going on in my life lately that I haven't spent a lot of time talking, or even thinking for that matter, about my childhood. I was a super lucky, super loved, kid my entire childhood. But that being said I did have a sort of odd childhood.
I'm 18 years younger than my youngest sibling, I have four of them and they are all within 5 years of each other. We were all raised by the same parents but the oldest two have a different dad. So if you do the math it's probably not astonishing to hear that my oldest brother, 21 at the time and my oldest sister, 20, were married and out of the house before I was born. My siblings were all raised in Southern California but then my parents moved to Oregon a year or so before I was born.
Being married and never having lived in the state where my family now resided contributed to the fact that I never met my oldest sister until my mom's funeral. There's the last part of the story. My mom died of cancer when I was 8. Her funeral is the only time I remember our whole family being together. And to be totally honest I have very little memory of much of that stretch of time. There are spots that stand out clearer then any other memory in my life. Meeting my siblings is just not one of those spots.
I used to see my brother and his family pretty regularly since we took a lot of trips down to California, where he still lived, but he has been estranged from the family for 15ish years so it's been a long time since I've seen him. I met my sister for a second time when my dad and I drove out to the east coast on my way to college. But that was the last time I saw her, 15 years ago.

So why the sudden, and brief, family history? My youngest brother, the one closest to me in age started planning a family reunion a few months ago, and he actually got all of us to agree to come. I keep saying we need to call it something other than a reunion since that implies an initial union of some sort leading to the re portion but we are.
Esme and I fly out Friday and one week from now I will have spent two full day with all of my siblings.
I feel fearful, nervous, scared, excited. I'm not at all sure how one should feel. To be headed into 3-4 days with people I don't know at all but who are the people to which I'm supposed to feel the closest in the world, it makes me, well, really worried.
I feel a bit like I would assume an adopted child feels meeting their biological parent for the first time. There is this assumption that you will feel an automatic bond with this person. This is blood, stronger than anything right? But what if we all hate each other? What if we feel nothing? What if we spend 3 super awkward days trying to figure each other out?
I know nothing about the childhood these four people shared together. What if there are sides? Old rivalries? What if I get in the middle of something I know nothing about? Worse yet, what if they all decide it's easier than old rivalries to just hate me?
Okay that last one isn't real. It's just my mind running away with itself.
I'm really close to my brother and sister nearest to me in age. My sister was like my mother for most of my life, we talk at least once a week, if not daily. And my brother and I have been quite close for my whole life. So some of those ridiculous deep seated insecurity fears are absolutely ludicrous.
But the truth is I really don't know how I feel about this.
Our family is not a family that talks about things, we're very Scandinavian in that way. There are things I would love to ask my siblings about my mom, about their childhood, but it just never feels like the right time. And we are definitely not a family that would offer up that kind of information.
But at the same time some of the memories I do have of my siblings is that no one in my family is one to back down from a fight.
So it turns out I'm the one in the family who will turn tail and sprint from a fight, or even a hint of a squabble really, and this makes me nervous too. So really I'm just a ball of nerves...a big ball of nerves for the next week, trying to figure out how to act calm, excited and not so, well, nervy. So that I'm not the first one to weird out.

Someone's bound to weird out right? Please say a prayer it's not me.

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