State of Abnormal

With the temps in the single digits for the next couple days, Miles and I are stuck indoors.

Which leads me to think even more about the abnormal condition that the nuclear family represents.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, just how strange it is that it’s just me and Miles and then in the evenings and on weekends T, as well.  Most of America raises their families like that. But to me it is a parched and dry desert.

That is how I was raised, too, but, by some strange twist of the genes, the extended family that I only saw on holidays was very, very close.  Cousins were like brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles were imbued with authority and kindness.

I often think about how it used to be even 100 years ago or less in our society and the way it is in so many other cultures around the world still.  The “extended” family is just “the family” and if I need to run some errands, Grandma will watch the kids or if my sis-in-law is doing some chores or the baking or the washing, her kids will play with mine, or i will do them with her while the kids play with, um, Grandma (I think I am noticing a distinct female overtone to this view). 

Not that this was a perfect way to operate. I am sure there were clashes of many different kinds.  In Korea still today, even with their rapid disintegration of the family for a nuclear family, a lot of women wouldn’t want to marry the firstborn son because he is the one obligated to care for his parents in the elder years (and by “care for” i mean, they will live with him and his wife will wait on their needs).

I know it wasn’t perfect. And I know that still today there are families who live in the same communities and are there for each other even if they are across town. 

I am learning to parent by instinct and the (albeit self-inflicted) state of isolation in which my son is being raised seems instinctually not right to me.  Probably I won’t be heading back to Indiana anytime soon (HELLO, my mom needs to come live with ME but she keeps saying she has this job or something.) but I find myself reaching out more and doing things that I probably wouldn’t have done ( like going out somewhere if I didn’t feel like it) when T & I were sufficient unto ourselves just so Miles can interact and feel the rudiements of social interaction.

Guess I need to extend my family with more kids, huh?  (oh, ha! I crack myself up)

family portrait by you.

That’s a lot of youngun’s. And there was 1 more.  And this is just one side of my fam.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amberlina
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 01:00:01



  2. sharon
    Jan 17, 2009 @ 13:38:13

    This was like reading my own thoughts during Stephanie’s 2nd year of life when we moved to Bellingham. I was struck then with how unnatural it seemed to take care of a child all day in isolation from other people, day after day after day. Of course there were outings and time with other people regularly, but the majority of the work day was just the peanut and me. She got plenty of nurture, but I starved. And the people we interacted with were all new to us, so I was continually in get-acquainted mode, never having a time where I could relax with someone who had known me/loved me for a long time (other than dear husband). It was social anorexia, for sure.


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