Monday, November 29, 2010

A Cold Cup Of Coffee: Family

This is a special edition of A Moment With Morris. This is part of an ongoing series I affectionately titled "A Cold Cup of Coffee". Bringing you real life without the sweeteners, a cold and sometimes bitter, but always necessary sip of reality. This time we're looking at, Family.

Yes, we’ve all got one. Now “family” is truly just a form of classification, it’s how we link species together and map gene pools. In our society, we take it a step further. We include not only our blood, but friends, neighbors, and community into that category. Well today, we’re talking about blood. Those people we share a name, room and sometimes womb with…Family.

As we are in the midst of the holiday season, this is really the time when family comes out of the wood work. That trip to grandma’s house, little brother coming home from college, or just an all out family gathering, can all set the table for an interesting affair.

I have recently been to several family functions, my own as well as others, and have had quite the experiences. It’s funny to see how we act and respond around the people who know us most intimately. How quickly the fronts, masks, and facades begin…oh yes, suddenly everyone has jumped up a tax bracket, are getting promoted, or have “big things” coming. For whatever reason, there is this need to put an imaginary "best" foot forward, for our kin. Why? Why lie? We all know the truth.

Yes, the TRUTH. The way it really went down, and the way it really is, because we know YOU, we know US, we're family. So let's break down these lies and keep it 100. We know you didn’t choose to move, you got evicted. You didn’t decide to focus on your career, he left you. You did love that car, you just didn’t love paying the note so they took it. Yes you’ve gained weight, no your girlfriend isn’t cute, your potato salad was suspect, and we think your child is “special”. Just keeping it real. In fact, I’ll do you one better, and keep it realer…we don’t care.

Family is not the gauge in which you judge success. What’s in my brother’s bank account has absolutely nothing to do with MY accomplishments. We want to look good in the eyes of our family, but let’s knock off the nonsense. You’re trying to impress the people that watched you take baths in the sink as a baby. The ones that had to scrub the walls after you decided to finger paint with what was in your diaper. The ones that know the real reason you don’t drink fluids after 7 pm…we KNOW you.

I’m just saying, can we have a truly open and honest moment? I understand not wanting everyone in your business, but do you think we didn’t hear you arguing all the way up the front steps before you got to the door and put on those fake smiles? We heard you, but we’ll still act surprised next year when you tell us you’re getting divorced. No your child doesn’t have ADD, ADHD, BPP…he doesn’t listen to you because you need to whup his A-S-S. Funny how he can’t sit still when you tell him to, but he can focus and play XBOX for 9 straight uninterrupted hours…hmmm. Some of you have lost your minds, look, don’t bring a different girl to each function and get mad when we call her the wrong name. Family functions are for significant others…leave the side chick at home (See “An Affair To Remember…But To Celebrate?”). And most importantly…No you do not make it “just like grandma”! She has the title, you’re not even a contender. You only embarass yourself with such talk.

I say these things because we're in this together. Good or bad, it doesn't change our relationship, we're still family, so let's have one based in honesty. That's fathers to sons, mothers to daughters, cousins to cousins, siblings, everybody.

Look, Thanksgiving is over, but we can still make things right before the New Year. I love my family, all of it. We are a great big ball of talent, resentment, love, co-dependency, creativity and dysfunctional passion…and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. They are as much a part of me as the organs that give me life, but there is room to grow closer, and that begins with keeping it real.

Family is a gift, like a sweater you didn’t ask for, but can’t return. So smile and accept it. Don’t try to hide it in the back of the closet. Don’t complain about the size, the fit or lie about the label. Just put it on, wear it proudly, and like the song says remember..."We are family."

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