Monday, November 26, 2012

Keepin' it real

I was chatting with a friend, and I told her that the previous night we had a bonfire in the back yard. She commented back, "You are so lucky.". Although it's true that I am really lucky and blessed (I had just spent the last 22 days extolling the blessings bestowed upon me and my family on Facebook after all!), the mental image she had of our family bonfire fell way short of what actually went down.

She admitted that she had a romanticized vision of s'mores, a von Trapp Family style sing along, togetherness...lovely! 

Well, we had s'mores. That much is true. But we also had a sullen teen boy who could think of about four other places he would rather be than outside with us. He didn't contribute to the conversation much and pretty much just put up the hood of his hoodie and tried to be invisible. 

The other kids seemed to have a pretty good time, but I did have to threaten to send inside the next person to use the "F" word. That's right. They wouldn't stop using the word "fart" and it was grating on my nerves! They were also cracking each other up talking about episodes of "Sponge Bob". I guess I was in a grumpy mood because I got tired of that, too. "Can we PLEASE talk about something else?" I asked. By now, it was apparent I was the wet blanket of the party. 


Mike then suggested to Mary and Clare that they grab their guitars or ukuleles and make some music. They didn't want to, but we both urged them. "It'll be fun!" we said hopefully. Well, once again, I think the kids had fun (except for Stephen) but they were singing silly and monotone. I was a little annoyed.  I tried to sing along to Blackbird, but it, uh, wasn't in my range. Translation: I am a terrible singer. They played a bit more, then put the instruments back in the house. Not a very von Trapp moment. 

There was a little bickering, a little bit of griping about smoke blowing in some eyes and a little bit of conversation. It wasn't a BAD overall experience, but after chatting with my friend, I realized that sometimes leaving out the details can leave a lot to interpretation. I don't tend to keep it real all of the time because I don't like to come across as a complainer or as someone who isn't grateful. Then I started to wonder if it seems like I am misrepresenting our family? Painting us with a broad, rosy paintbrush. We are far from perfect. We love each other but sometimes bicker with one another. We are sometimes boring. Conversations can get vulgar. We love to laugh, but sometimes nothing funny happens. I like to tell stories about our experiences, but I do tend to leave out the minute details. Especially the ugly ones. Sometimes for brevity, sometimes for the reasons I stated above. (gratitude, non-complainer) I want to be real, but there seems to be a fine line there.

 I will continue to write about our family and I encourage you to imagine everything I am telling you about, but then imagine a little backstage foofaraw. Because that's usually what happens. Sometimes the foofaraw is the story, but sometimes it is just the thing in the background keeping our feet planted firmly on the ground.


  1. Foofaraw is the most awesome word, ever! Ha. This is a great entry. You are always real when you write about your family, and you never give the impression that you are complaining.

    Coming off a family weekend that kind of underscored how sad and lame my family is, and feeling exhausted, all contributed to me feeling the way I did. Sometimes I idealize everyone else's lives. Thanksgiving this year made me question every single thing about my life. It sometimes seems that I have done everything WRONG. My family is so very un-family-like that when I hear about families actually acting like families, I do romanticize it all. I try not to.

    Thanks for writing this entry!

  2. Well, I think everyone tends to romanticize family situations. It's normal, no matter what your own family is like.

    Don't think you are to blame for your family dynamic. You are the are the result, not the problem. But, you are making positive changes in your life. And you hosted a get together for your dad and bro! That is big!

    I like the word foofaraw! I found it while looking for a synonym to another awesome word; kerfuffle. I didn't want to use the same word you had just used in your blog! Haha!

    Thank you for inspiring this post and your positive reinforcement!