Such a lucky family to get me

By Mir
May 21, 2007

I come from a family which is fairly small; I have one sibling, each of my parents has one sibling, there are rarely more than two kids on any family branch and many of us are far-flung. My brother lives across the country from me and we lead very different lives.

I think it’s safe to say that I am intrigued by large and/or close families.

As a result, I’ve apparently developed a habit of marrying into those sorts of families. (Yes, let’s refer to my marriages as “habits.” That should delight both ex and current husband alike.) The idea of a big crazy group of people who voluntarily spend time together just because they’re related appeals to me. I had childhood fantasies of having a whole gang of siblings, and seeing the interactions of those who do fascinates me.

In nine years of marriage I never felt like I penetrated the “inner sanctum” when it came to my ex’s family. In hindsight I have lots of theories as to why that was the case—most of which I cannot share here—but I think it’s safe to say that I was not exactly the most popular in-law. And now that we’re divorced I think it’s safe to say that they all hate my guts because I am the devil. Ahem.

Although I’ve known Otto for nearly 18 years, I met most of his family for the first time about four years ago. We’ve not spent a huge amount of time together, but already I sense that this is a completely different situation than my previous in-law scenario. For one thing, Otto is the oldest of his siblings, and his family seems very relieved that he’s found someone to put up with him after all these years. For another, I have the oldest children (theoretically rendering me the voice of seasoned motherhood, although I think it mostly means I just yell more) and am not above bribing my nephews with cake in the name of currying favor.

What I’m trying to say is, they seem to like me. And I like them. I would say this would be perfect for a cheesy line of greeting cards, but the affection we have for one another is expressed mostly through Otto’s brothers cracking on me non-stop while I threaten to write incriminating things about them on the internet.

It’s just like we’re really siblings!

In fact, I keep meaning to write about the fact that the older of Otto’s two younger brothers is completely OBSESSED with the fact that I have not ASSIGNED HIM A NICKNAME here on the blog. He would like a nickname. As soon as he told me that I mentally vowed to leave him nickname-less as long as possible. Not to be mean, you understand, but just because it seemed like the thing to do.

Otto’s youngest brother is getting married next summer. We had given the family strict instructions of NO GIFTS prior to the wedding, because we are grown-ups with two housefuls of stuff and what do we need? But this brother informed us at dinner that they’d bought us something but left it on the coffee table at home. “That’s such a coincidence,” Otto replied, “because I bought something for YOUR wedding and left it on your coffee table!” Har har. I forgot about this exchange until tonight, when Otto told me a package had arrived for us from his brother. He asked me if he should open it and I told him to go ahead.

To fully appreciate what comes next you have to know that Otto could navigate his way home if you dropped him somewhere in the Himalayas. In the dark. Blindfolded. He’s one of THOSE guys. Me, I can still get lost going to the grocery store I’ve frequented for the last seven years.

Otto opened the package and found a GPS unit. After squealing like a little girl on Christmas morning (and remembering that when I’d told his brother, “But you weren’t supposed to buy anything!” he’d responded with “This is something you’re really going to want, trust me”), I naturally declared that this brother is now my favorite in-law.

Because I’m all about family. And having a little computer that will tell me when I’m being directionally-challenged.


  1. Azul

    They are lucky to have you. It’s great to have in-laws that are fun and nice to be around. I’m similarly blessed, and so thankful for them every time I hear an in-law horror story.

  2. Jen

    I think Nickname-Less deserves a nickname for that.

  3. Susan

    They are very lucky to have you and vice-versa!

    My family is the same (we ALL seem to come in twos, kinda like Noah’s ark) and so is the family I married into! And because my husband thinks that’s the ideal number, I only “got” to have two kids myself. I would’ve loved to have had a large bunch. I’m like you–large families intrigue and appeal to me.


    Maybe I can talk my husband into getting a GPS unit for me to fill that void. ;-)

  4. Daily Tragedies

    …the affection we have for one another is expressed mostly through Otto’s brothers cracking on me non-stop while I threaten to write incriminating things about them on the internet.

    It’s just like we’re really siblings!

    I come from a big family, on both sides, and YES, this is exactly how it should be. Razzing = Love. You can tell which in-laws we like best by how much they make fun of us and us them. (Healthy, huh?)

  5. becky

    in my family, being teased is to be part of the family. and they are merciless with their sarcasm. you must have a thick skin to be around them. and thankfully, my husband fits right in. he gets zinged a lot, but he gives as good as he gets. glad that you feel welcomed into the family.

  6. Busy Mom

    I think you should call him Nick. Nick Name.

    You can say it “Nick Nah-may” if you want to be all fancy and stuff.

  7. Silly Me

    I agree with Busy Mom(I almost called her BM! -sorry!) He should be dubbed “Nick” In fact, he should just go ahead and change his legal name to “Nick.” It suits him.

  8. tuney.

    Um..I think “NickLess” is also presenting itself as highly appropriate, if self-defeating. Of course, if he’s a Harry Potter fan, he could be “Nearly NickLess.”

  9. Zee

    Ooh cool. GPS rules!! I so wish I’d had one when I was living in Boston. All those cow-driving roads turned into paved streets that Bostonians called thoroughfares. Or something. ANYWAY, the point is, I had one briefly (work thing) here in Portland and it was SO awesome. I used to like driving off course just to see what it would do.

  10. Kendra

    I can see the grin on “NickLess’s” face as he’s reading all of your posts…it’s safe to say you may have made his day.
    If I could add my 2 cents…just to be silly, you could “name” the brothers using anagrams of Otto…there aren’t many, but I giggle thinking of you writing about “Toot” and “Toto”. ha ha ha ha ha

    We like you too…and those kids of yours aren’t bad either :)

    Good job, Otto! :)

  11. LadyBug Crossing

    LOL!! Give the guy a nickname… he definitely deserves one now..

  12. MomCat

    Mir, why is it you can’t find your way to the grocery store? I mean, with you being the devil and all? I thought penultimate evil never got lost!

    (I vote for calling new bro “Nickless” or “Nearly Nickless” too!)

  13. Brigitte

    Ah yes, we knew that any prospective in-laws that could deal with our razzing really made the grade!

    It’s a rule of life that small families and onlies long for large families, and vice-versa. I myself spent most of my childhood years wishing to be an only child, because siblings make you insane, especially those you share your room with. But then, I probably wouldn’t even remember my childhood any more if it weren’t for the stuff we did together.

  14. Katie

    That’s awesome! My husband needs a GPS unit, I’m tired of him getting lost in New Jersey and calling me to pull up Google Maps.

    Oh and I’m one of those big family type people. I dated a guy who was the only son of a divorced only and their Thanksgiving consisted of 3 people (Grandma was the 3rd). Seemed really weird because we seem to have a 12 person minimum (and that’s usually just 2 families).

  15. Sara

    My sister-in-law is an only child. One of her parents was an only and the other had 1 sib. There were only three kids in my family, but we are loud and scary, I’m sure. When we got together for dinner 2 days before their wedding, (with our own eventual spouses) she was amazed at our shared stories and jokes and loved it. Now, with ALL of us–my parents, 3 couples and the 11 cousins, I’m sure she’d like to go hide!

    I agree that Razzing=Love. Sounds like you found a good bunch. And you didn’t even need a GPS!

  16. Randi

    Oh Mir Mir Mir – the stories I could trade with you about being hated by in-laws. We’re very similar – I am an only child (more or less – long story) and my husband is one of SEVEN – his parents adopted and so he is actually the second to youngest child in the pack – I have a BIL who is in his sixties and I’m 27. I have “Nieces and nephews” that are older than I am, and great-nieces and nephews that are my children’s ages. Because of this, I am seen as more of an annoyance (and it could have something to do with my big mouth, as well). I’m glad you found a family where you fit in – I’m still searching!

  17. Andrea

    Here’s another vote for Mr. Nick Name…

    Sounds like your inlaws have really embraced you, as they should! :)

  18. ishouldbeworking

    I am one of 3 sisters & I have one child. Neither of my sisters has kids, and only one is married – to an only child. Our mom & grandparents are gone & we don’t see my dad much. Our family functions usually consist of the 5 of us. I’ve been dating “Leo” for almost a year – he is the 6th of 7 sibs and their family functions consist of no less than 2 dozen people. Total culture shock! They too share the razzing = love philosophy – which is what I also grew up with. It’s a good fit.

  19. Nameless and proud

    Ok, this is a bunch of garbage. I never “insisted” on a nickname. I merely pointed out that you have willfully ignored one of the pillars of your new husbands upbringing. Where would the world be without brothers and sisters to help steer the development of their siblings. Just look what Roger Clinton did for Bill, what Andy did for Barry Gibb, what Donnie did for Marie, and what Niles does for Fraser Crane!

  20. Mir

    Dude. You’ll always be Nearly Nickless to me, now. ;)

  21. Christina

    Nearly Nickless is just perfect – you asked for it. :) Great present, my husband wants one of those, too.

  22. Bob

    I have a large family through my mother (her father was one of 7 children). I have two siblings, both of which have 3 kids. My wife is one of 7 children. If we were ever to get everyone together it would have to be ‘tween the hedges.

  23. Patricia

    My family doesn’t have to call ahead for a large table to hold a family reunion at Applebee’s. I’m not kidding, as a THIRD generation only child — and I’m raising the fourth, we may be a long lived tree, we just have few branches.
    While I agree with you Mir, I’m fascinated by other families with, you know, people in them. I am not sure I could really handle it. All those people, kinda scare me. Um, perhaps I’ve been alone too much. Nevermind me, I’ll just lock the doors and scream at those crazy kids…

  24. dana

    Dang girl! You lucky woman! I’ve wanted GPS forever.

    I’m so happy to hear you’ve married into a big family. I come from one myself. (my parents have a combined 14 siblings and I’m the oldest of four). My husband is the youngest of three and he tells me everyday he married into the Addams family. It’s true. ;)

  25. Aimee

    Heh. Nearly Nickless.

  26. Heidi

    Tuney (suggesting Nearly Nickless) and Kendra (suggesting Toot and Toto) are ON FIRE this morning! Me, I’m still waiting for the caffeine to kick in so I’m glad it’s already been decided and I don’t have to pretend to be clever…

    Welcome, Nearly Nickless!

  27. jenn2

    Oh, I totally read that wrong…

    *shame, shame and more shame*

  28. Stephanie

    Well, as soon as I read that, I immediately thought he should be nicknamed Nickname-less. Because you vowed to leave him nickname-less. You could shorten it to Nick, or Nameless, or just, ‘hey, you!’

  29. LAZY

    I only have one brother and one sister both of which I almost never see (except at 4 weddings & a funeral or 2)! ~ jb///

  30. Jamie Lee

    I’m having trouble deciding which is more fun to read – your post or the comments from all your witty readers.
    Love “Nearly Nickless”. Classic.

  31. Shalee

    Nearly Nickless sounds perfect.

    And NN, you did a fabulous job with the gift. Way to make sure that Mir always finds her way back to Otto.

  32. Contrary

    Just so glad for Nearly Nickless’ sake that the ‘N’ and the ‘D’ are nowhere near each other on the keyboard, as that could lead to some awful ‘typos’. And might still, because I find ‘Dearly Dickless’ to be the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.

  33. Cele

    Does that mean it is an Otto GPS?

  34. Genevieve

    If I’m reading your post right, Mir, the GPS isn’t from Nearly Nickless but from his younger brother – is that right?

    Whichever brother gave it to you rocks. Seriously, Mir, as a person with a negative sense of direction (I will nearly always turn the wrong way, given a choice), I assure you that the GPS will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

    Oh, and if it’s the kind of GPS that talks to you in the car? You have to name it. And tell us what the name is.

  35. Ben


    An Otto Pilot!

    Y’all are cracking me up. And I think Dearly Dickless would make a great t-shirt.

  36. Heather S.

    I think this is awesome for you and the kidlets to be apart of such a great family

  37. Warrior Knitter

    Otto Pilot.

    Way to go, Ben. I’ve think you’ve named the GPS.

    And Nearly Nickless is is a toot, too!

  38. Nicole

    Very, very cool! Great new family, great gift. Now can you please give us a GPS deal on your other blog- pretty please? I need one a lot – both my husband and I could get lost going to the grocery store. My ex, on the otherhand, not so much, but still not work sticking with :)

  39. MMM

    WOOT! I would LOVE one of those!

  40. Celine

    WooHOO for the new BIL. My hubby got me a GPS for Christmas last year. It has changed my LIFE. I call it the “genie in the box”. Yeah, BIL deserves a nickname for thinking of a gift like that.

  41. Anna


    I married in to a close knit family and it has been wonderful. I have lived with in-laws no further than 3 acres in any given direction for almost 20 years. Although a bit daunting at first, I have embraced my mother-in-law as another mother.

    For Otto-

    I also married a directionally challenged spouse and apparently it is genetic, my children inherited this trait from my husband. Hug your brother, it may bring Mir home sooner when she moves to the South.

  42. Otto

    “One of the pillars of your new husbands upbringing?”

    Okay, that’s a stretch, Nearly Nickless. Perhaps the word you were searching for was “pillory.” Because, between the three of you – and mother – I felt like I was in one on many, many occasions. B-)


  43. tuney.

    Oh, my. Dearly Dickless? Otto Pilot? Man, we got it goin’ ON!! *laughing my fool head off*

  44. ChristieNY

    Tee hee hee – Mir I’m loving the sibling stuff going on here, very fun to watch! And ::: giggle ::: I can see your shiny ring sparkling from here as you’re typing!

    So a GPS, eh? Now you can pack up the kids and navigate your way to your husband, just incase there’s a marathon or something clogging up the airlines! ;)

    Hugs to all of you, Nick, Mrs. Otto (Mir) and Mr. Mir (Otto)! ;)

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest