Whenever my mom asks me to help her move anything that involves the two of us carrying something together, I know I’m in for some kind of injury. She has this insane habit of melting into paroxysms of maniacal giggling that leave her completely incapacitated whenever something heavy needs to be picked up.
She’s pretty sneaky about it, but then so am I. Today, she invited me over for cream scones and as an almost whispered aside said she needed to move a couple of things. I brought reinforcements. I had an inkling there might be a bed involved, but was more convinced it was just a few heavyish boxes.
Two beds and two couches. They were perfectly happy where they were, but had to be swapped around – from one little flatlet to another. And that’s where my dad’s particular quirk comes in. He’s a fanatical builder, fixer-upper, do it his way (the complicated way) madman. His sense of space isn’t at all the same as most people. He believes there needs only to be a hair’s breadth between your body and the wall, on any side. At least he’s quite tall so ceiling heights aren’t often compromised. But as for the rest of it, well, let’s just say getting out of bed is a feat in precision if you want to avoid your knees and then nose being scraped by the wall that’s right there.
So, manoeuvring these bulky items of furniture through an ever so slightly too small doorway, up a really skinny garden path and through another strangely angled door opening required a lot of creative thinking and spatial planning. Thanks to my pre-knowledge of the quirks and my reinforcement darling, my chuckling mother was delegated to door-opener so the task went much more quickly than anticipated.
Family quirks. I’ve lived with those two oddities all my life and it amazes me how much we put up with for no apparent reason. Okay, my mom’s complete inability to move furniture without collapsing into tear-streaming laughter is quite cute, albeit a little annoying when there are things that need to move from here to there.
But my dad’s absolute inability to understand basic ergonomic requirements as well as the wisdom of accepting what is actually required of a living space (a kitchen en-suite not being all the rage, ever) is alarming at best and downright insane actually.
And yet, we love each other – families. We learn to live with quirks that to the objective observer are nothing short of bizarre. We dance around and give each other space to be mad, to act out or upon our particular peculiarities. We learn to live with stuff that we wouldn’t ordinarily choose to live with and probably wouldn’t put up with in anyone else.
Is that good? Is that what family is about – having a space in which your unique characteristics are accepted without question? Or is it all a bit twisted – do we have a responsibility to the world to snip off those strangeness’s before allowing anyone who bears our name to launch themselves into the wide world?
Perhaps there’s a balance. Perhaps there are choices to be made about the battles you do fight. No one in my family has managed to really curb my father’s penchant for higgledy piggeldy tiny spaces that make no sense, but none of us would want to subject any of his designs on anyone. But, my siblings and I have learnt to yearn for space, huge rooms and large windows with lots of light. We like to waste space and are probably the better for it – we have a freer sense of space (but are all a little claustrophobic). My mom’s giggling is regarded as quite sweet and has actually been passed down through the generations to a point that anyone in our family, no matter their mood, finds moving a laughing matter.
Whatever quirks you or your family have, I guess it’s your choice whether you choose to push for change or let it be. But isn’t it just wonderful to have that choice? To know there’s a place where your character will be accepted, generally understood and certainly loved, no matter what?
As for me, I will nurse my bashed toe (always an injury) and ponder what I have or haven’t accepted in my family. What I like or don’t like about their particular personalities and count myself immensely blessed to have such conundrums to consider.