An entire family of wiseasses

By Mir
August 20, 2006

So. The reunion-thingie on Saturday. Where to begin? How to tell you all about it?

Oh! I know!

Let’s start with how all of these people in my family—most of whom I didn’t know existed until this weekend—Have been READING THIS BLOG unbeknownst to me and courtesy of a cousin who sent EVERYONE the link. They were all SUPER! And PRETTY! All of them! I swear! And they promised not to read the entries about my boobs!

Actually, they really were all great, otherwise that might be, well, you know, awkward. Still. Newfound relations. Reading the blog. Not that I’m bitter about none of them piping up with a comment, or anything. (Do you see? You can take the girl out of Judaism, but you cannot take the guilt-tripping abilities out of the girl….)

Anyway. We found our way to the gorgeous home of some cousins who live about an hour from here. I’ve lived in New England (and an hour or less away from them) for 10 years, and we’d never met before. This makes me incredibly sad, because they have a pool. What? I said, because they were cool. Ahem.

Here is what I began to realize, as the day wore on and I met more people to whom I am related: These people are my family. Not just that we’re related. I mean, yes, THAT. Obviously. But there were snappy comebacks. There was sarcasm. There were zingers and ribbing and it became clear that I did not develop my sense of humor in a vacuum. (Not that I thought I had. My dad is a pretty funny guy. But little did I realize he comes from a clan of funny people.)

There was also an awful lot of good food, and if there’s anything I like better than some witty repartee, it’s eating. (Good conversation over mountains of yummy food? Nirvana.)

Some of these people are funny on purpose, and some of them were just funny because they couldn’t help it. I can’t be naming any names, you know—even though, HELLO ALL MY RELATIVES READING THIS, YOU ALL KNOW WHO THIS WAS—at one point I witnessed the following:

A man who shall not be named watched a young woman swirl into the room, dressed to the nines, on her way out. This man then commented to the man next to him, “Wow, Girl sure grew up to be HOT!”

The problem? First, that the man making the comment is her uncle. Second, that the man he made this statement to is his brother… and Girl’s father.

That’s, like, a whole new level of knee-slapping, cringe-worthy humor. (I wanted to cringe. But I was laughing too hard.)

So as I spent my day listening to conversations and learning who’s where and doing what and how much we have in common or don’t, and in the meantime, another interesting thing was happening at the same time.

My kids were the only children in attendance. They swam and chased the dog and “played wiffleball” (if you can call throwing or hitting the ball into the pool, repeatedly, and then trying to fish it out with a raft, wiffleball) and ran in circles…

… and were fussed over and spoiled by all of the adults in attendance, who all seemed to think they were the most wonderful children in the entire world.

I’m not going to lie. It’s been a LONG summer around here. Chickadee in particular is having a rough time remembering to treat those around her with kindness and manners rather than simply spinning her head around and ejecting acid from her second set of mandibles into the face of anyone in her way. It’s POSSIBLE that I have been taking my children a teensy bit for granted, or even feeling somewhat weary of them at times.

To watch my children through fresh eyes was fascinating. They were not on their BEST behavior (although, now that I think of it, I’m not really sure if I’ve ever SEEN their best behavior, or if it’s just some concept in my mind), but they did okay. There were a few “I’m bored”s and “what do we do NOW”s and maybe I hollered a few times for them to stay away from the edge of the pool and then announced to no one in particular that if they fell in, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to go in after them.

But they played, for the most part, happily. They listened and remembered their manners, usually. Together they curled up on a couch and read this book (offered by our hostess, with the explanation that it had been quite apt for her kids, and she suspected mine would find it ringing true as well). They flitted around and ran in and out and left, in their wake, an adult (or two or three) smiling and remarking on what good kids they are.

I thought about that, as we drove home in the dark, and my daughter’s sleepy head bounced off my shoulder until I nestled it carefully between my shoulder and the seat so that she could sleep. I thought about that as I carried her up the stairs and got her tucked in. I thought about that as I removed Monkey’s shorts and discovered that his pockets were jam-packed full of pinecones.

And I thought about it again today when I offered the children chocolate milk and Chickadee looked at me with wide eyes.

“Chocolate milk? You NEVER give us chocolate milk. Are you ILL?”

Two lessons learned:
1) We are, indeed, ALL a product of our families.
2) They really are pretty good kids.


  1. rachel

    sounds like a wonderful time. It’s great to see your kids through other eyes. And as a bonus to meet great people who are cool witha pool? fabulous.

    and I just requested the book from our library. It does look apt!

  2. Valbee

    Ok, this is kind of weird. I blogged about the family reunion I went to yesterday. One of the things that struck me yesterday was realizing that all of us share the same sense of humor. I’ve met my relatives before, but we didn’t spend any time together growing up, so this revelation was pretty interesting to me. :)

    Glad you had a good time!

  3. Karin

    Doggone it Mir. I thought I was going to get through the day without crying over a blog entry. Awesome post :)

  4. Dee Dee

    Sounds like you had a great weekend. I completely relate to seeing your kids through other people’s eyes. My parent often come for a visit when I really need them to point out how smart, funny and all around great my kids truely are.

  5. Juliness

    It’s like on Seinfeld when George’s worlds collided: Relationship George smacked into Friend George and…OMG the plethora of material that emerged out of that meeting.

    Actually, it was a very lovely post about people I’d drive several hours to hang out with. Yes, I have a weakness for smartasses. (But you probably already sensed that, didn’t you?)

    So happy to hear you had fun!

  6. chris

    Awwwwww. I know what you mean about looking at your kids through frsh eyes.

    Sounds like a fun time.

  7. Patricia

    But chocolate milk? Mir, I know you haven’t felt the best lately, but seriously — let’s back that train right up. No need going all crazy because you found your long lost smartasses ;).
    Please, OH please, just reassure me that you didn’t lose touch here and made it with “local with a hormone free pledge” milk?
    Need to check the fabric of the universe — this is a red letter day.

  8. Marvo

    That Chickadee is going to be a funny one…like her mom.

  9. Cele

    As you closed this post all I could think of was your YOUNG, POOR, BACK. Oh, and that when we’re young a friend is a gift we give ourselves. When we’re older and wiser, our families are the gift we give each other.

  10. Takhara

    What a wonderful recap of what was surely a fantastic day! You never know about reunions… :)

  11. Bob

    I can remember observing that our kids behaved soooo much better for others than for us. We would get such complements on their behaviour. I rationalized that some beneficent being must have taken over their bodies because the children that received such glowing compliments had just had a collective meltdown just 10 minutes before arriving over who gets to sit behind mommie in the car.

    Oh, and by the way, a room full of Mirs trading barbs – *shudder*.

  12. hollygee

    I think finding the family sense of humor is a hell of a lot better than finding that my flat, broad, square ass is a family trait.

  13. Liz

    I wanted to comment about your birthday orchids…sorry…I got a little overwhelmed at work and am catching up on the past couple of days. Can you PLEASE post a picture of them? They sound so lovely. Happy belated birthday, and I’m glad you found your family reunion not quite as full of fruits and nuts as you might have!

  14. Amy-Go

    That last comment proves Chickie’s place in your family line…glad it was a great day!

  15. Christina

    Yeah for chocolate milk! for breakfast! you rock!

  16. Ben

    That sounds heavenly…

  17. Leanne

    Awww, of course they’re good kids! They’re only insane when they’re not exposed to people other than you. That’s how kids work. So if you keep them exposed to people more often (read: send them to the relatives to raise), they won’t make you crazy nearly as often.

    Just kidding.

    (And also because I can relate to the family members reading who never comment. Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame! Feel bad, family members! Feel guilt! Wonder if the next time you open the door you’ll find a Chick and a Monkey with suitcases on your step smiling brightly and being very well behaved!)

    Kidding, again.

    I am so glad you have a family. With a fancy house and a pool. I never would have guessed, seeing as how THEY NEVER COMMENT or admit to being related here in public!

    Jeez you’d think I have issues with the family reading the blog and not commenting, eh?

  18. Aimee

    Now, see, I think a room full of Mirs trading barbs sounds like probably too much fun for me to handle. I’d pee, and then y’all’d kick me out.

  19. Susan

    I also have far-flung family who read but won’t comment. And then they try to play dumb when they are told news that they ALREADY READ on my blog.


  20. David

    I’m glad your weekend went so nicely. It’s about dern time. Also? Kids are mighty clever. They know how to do good PR when they want to. ;-)

  21. Jenny

    See, and I read it that you were looking at your kids through the ole fish eye.

  22. InterstellarLass

    Family reunions aren’t complete without the foot-in-the-mouth comment from some bawdy uncle. He was just fulfilling the prophecy.

  23. dad

    Just in case you didn’t realize it, I got to look at one of my kids through the eyes of other people who had not met you until the reunion. You done me proud.

    It’s amazing how mixing with strangers who just happen to share genetic code is so much more intriguing, and hilarious than say, a random sample of people that like to eat and laugh. I’m sure your great-great grandfather Vel3vul would kvell.
    And for those who are curious how his name is pronounced, as we discussed, the 3 is silent.

  24. Cynthia Samuels

    What a great event! And when you describe it I can see it. My family used to gather frequently when I was a kid and \”the cousins\” had a blast. Sadly, my kids were so much older than their own cousins that they were treated as \”huge scary guys\” or something to climb on. They were stalwart and kind but the gatherings weren\’t all that frequent, sadly. So it\’s nice to share one vicariously.

    I have given tons of The Pain and the Great One for \”big brother/sister\” presents – second only to Jullius the Baby of the World which is by the guy who wrote Lily\’s Purple Plastic Purse a wonder of a book.

  25. Karen Rani

    What an absolutely lovely post Mir. It’s oozing with the pride and love you so obviously have for your children.

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