I have always been something of an oddity, and for reasons beyond my control: my family.
You see, for almost as long as I can remember, I have been the only one in my group of friends whose parents are still married – to each other, at least. Which is strange when you think about it. Given that the national divorce rate is hovering somewhere around 50%, statistically, there should be more people in my boat.
But, of course, statistically, only about 10% of my friends should be gay.
Even within my extended family, my nuclear family is an anomaly. Out of eight siblings (between them), my parents are the only ones that have survived a marriage of more than a decade.
Thankfully, this is one area in which it’s rather nice to be a “freak”. I love my family. My parents have always supported me while still allowing me to be myself, and my brothers (vastly different in temprement and interests) are both good people.
Sure, when we all get together, I get a little stir-crazy, but that has much more to do with my avoidance of groups larger than five than with them. I just find groups a little overwhelming . . . and the fact that we’re all a bit [ahem] loud and with distinct and large personalities gets to be a bit much. I need to get some quiet time, regroup and rejoin the crowd.
But I digress.
My parents are now getting to the age where they need to “parent” their parents. My grandparents are getting older and having health issues and just basically need more help than they ever have. It’s really hard on both of them, as we live hours away from either couple. I definitely don’t envy the day when I need to broach the topic of assisted living or power of attorney with my own parents. How disconcerting.
But I know that I’ll do it, whole-heartedly and with love, because that’s the way I was raised. With family treated as a virtue, not just a group.