Friday, November 28, 2008

Family

Is there such a thing as too much family? 'Cause I feel like I'm straight OD-ing on family right now. Yesterday was Thanksgiving, obviously a big family holiday with lots of relatives around. Today we're heading up north for an 80th birthday party tomorrow night and as an added bonus, we're going to a funereal tomorrow morning. After we get back, it's back to DC for BigDaddyRat's funereal which will be attended by just about every relative we have on that side of the family. So let's total it up; we have a major holiday, a family party, and two funereals in the span of six days.

I'm estimating that of the relatives that I have semi-regular contact with, I'll probably be seeing about 80-90% of them in the course of a single week. It's funny because it's such a wild mix of people. In the next few days I will converse with goose-stepping GOP religious right fundamentalists and Black nationalists who want to see Obama looking out of the Oval Office in the "By any means necessary" pose. I will dine with one uncle who is an Assistant US Attorney and another uncle that's done time in so many different states that noone's sure what the total is. I will greet two cousins the same way, "Yo man, it's been too long, we gotta get together and kick it." One of those cousins is a Federal police officer, the other is a retired (we think) gangbanger. I will get pawed on by two sets of aunts, one set of aunts will be rural and White, the other set will be urban and Black; all of them will be throwing down glasses of chardonnay and scotch like it's their motherfucking job.

The one thing that binds all of these people together is their love me, WifeRat, and (especially) BabyRat. As different as my family is from WifeRat's family, they are also eerily similar in many respects. The loud, exuberant aunts and their soft-spoken, even tempered husbands with useless 2nd and 3rd cousins aplenty on both sides of the family.

Before our families were bound together, I would have never believed how similar a rural White family and an urban Black family could be. I wonder how confusing all of this will be for BabyRat, will she assume that every family is the same with a White half and a Black half, just like she has one male parent and one female parent?

As I type this I realize that I have a lot to deal with in the next few days and I have no choice but to lean on all of my family members for strength. They will all reach out to me, the ones that forwarded e-mails about Obama being a Muslim side by side with the ones who think he's the second coming. As I prepare to lay my Father to rest, the criminals and the cops will all fold me inside of the protective cocoon of their love and sympathy. The beefy, hard-working hands of uncles both Black and White will clamp down on my shoulder and give me a squeeze because they don't know what to say, but that small act has always said just as much as the most elegant turn of phrase.

So I guess the answer is, "No." You can't have too much family.

4 comments:

Go To Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brandon said...

We're behind you big guy! East/West/South - you let us know if there is anything we can do.

PS: Can't believe you thought you could pull a fast one in MT.

Much Love,
Bubba

Hill Rat said...

Thanks Bubba! You never replied to my text message about what to get the GotoGirl for Christmas.

Brandon said...

Yeah, I'm trying to figure that out myself. I'll drop you some hints when I learn more. Hang tight.

BF