But I think the most interesting ... and eeriest ... things about family are what they pass on to us. Earlier, I made a blog entry about my creative side and all the forms of "creativity" that could be found on the immediate branches of my family tree. That post was all about the positive, beautiful things like art and poetry, but the double helix of my genes carries a darker side. And I think, in recent years, my siblings have thrown a genetic "switch" and come into their inheritance in full.
My oldest brother is the only one of the three boys in my family to have children (as far as we know, ha, ha!). Growing up he was several years our senior and I can remember the many, many times that he told my mother that she spoiled us. He claimed he had so many more rules to follow and chores to do when he was closer to our age than me and my brother combined. And at one point in his teens, I clearly recall an instance where he called her out on her style of parenting. "Why don't you punish us yourself?" he had taunted her. "You just want Dad to always be the bad guy so you don't feel guilty about spanking us. I'll never treat my kids like that ... never!!"
In her defense, my dear mother was a product ... and a victim ... of her generation. All the mothers used the "wait 'til our father gets home" end run to quiet us heathens down. It was a universal constant, like gravity. Sometimes it smacked you like gravity, too.
Anyway, about a week ago, I was over at my brother's house and asked where his youngest, Rose, was hiding. "That's it," he declared. "She's hiding. She said I didn't care enough to look for her and that her mother wasn't good enough at finding things to ever figure out where she's at." It seems that little Rose broke a table lamp while running through the house, and brother told her to "think about what you've done ... your Mom will take care of you when she gets home from shopping." My brother looked smug ... I imagine I looked like the Cheshire cat because Mr. I'll-Never-Be-Like-You was parenting just like our mother. Come to think of it, I don't think my brother had made one hard decision in his married-with-children life. He did, however' have a ball-busting wife to pick up the slack. Good for him ... he saved some other poor dude the pain.
I don't visit my sister as often as I should. She lives about 40 minutes away ... not very far, really ... but I'm afraid of her. I'm afraid that I'm going to tell her that she's turned into our father. My Dad had a temper. Something would set him off, he'd yell and fume for about two minutes, and then apologize to everyone involved and resolve the situation. Now if you compared my father's outbursts to a solar flare, then my sister's temper is like an ongoing supernova! She screams ... she invokes our ancestors and ancient totems ... she paints her face with the blood of her victims ... okay, she actually just gets really loud and manic and verbally kicks you in the 'nads for the tinniest of indiscretions. And she hated my Dad's temper. Growing up, she constantly went to my mother and said he needed anger management classes or to consider seeing his doctor about anxiety meds. She's now living in a black, BLACK kettle.
My other brother inherited my Dad's aptitudes for numbers and spatial arrangement ... he's so good at math and logic puzzles and assembling things, it's spooky. And then there's my creativity and love of books. I'm sure me and my kidless sibling picked up a few bad "habits" but nothing that borders on a mental health issue.
POINT OF RANT: Thank God for creativity and condoms!