By: MARY HOLLIS STUCK
People are always complaining about their family. I hear that. I’ve been there. My family is insane. And they drive me just shy of insanity as well. That being said, through the ups and downs in your life, your family is going to be a constant. They can be your support system, your fallback, your rock. However, it’s up to you to take the negative in stride, and remember the positive things, even when they are nagging you and seem to be invading your personal space.
You will never have inside jokes with anyone like you have with your family. After all, they have been there through all of the awkwardness, the arguments, and the trauma. Sometimes, you simply have to say one word before your entire family erupts into laughter. Today, I can still text my younger brother a simple lyric from a song and know that it will make both of us laugh a little for the rest of the day.
Have siblings? Great, you have a built-in team of allies. While I fought furiously with my brothers growing up, now there is nothing we like more than teaming up to make fun of my mother. And because we are all adults, we are capable of waiting until we are at a holiday party to mercilessly retell the story of her sending my brother to school with appendicitis, or me having to stay in class even after breaking my arm during PE. Good work, team.
Family time builds character. When I was younger, my mother packed my three siblings and me into her minivan and drove us from South Carolina to Montana for the summer. In fact, she did this two years in a row. At the time, I thought it was pretty awful. Trapped in a minivan with screaming fighting children for 5 days (each way!)? I’m surprised Mom made it out alive. People honestly questioned her sanity. However, now that I am twenty-six, I can appreciate the fact that I visited the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, and I saw my mother cry to try to avoid a traffic ticket. Nothing can take that away from me.
Nobody will ever be there for you the way they will. I have moved schools, states, and jobs. Through it all, my mom, dad, and brothers have been there. When I lost my job a month ago, they all reached out in their own way to ensure I knew they would be there for whatever I needed. From discussing options with my parents, to having a beer with my brothers, it has kept me from falling into a pit of despair.
They make you into the person you become as an adult. My brothers, sister and I were all adopted at birth, taken home from the hospital by the people I call Mom and Dad. While we look nothing alike, I am still amazed at the ways in which I am so similar to the family that bears my last name. My mom’s affinity for literature, my dad’s temper and stubbornness, my brothers’ humor. They are all part of me. They are things you cannot break yourself of, and you must embrace.
You will never know how important they are until one of them is no longer there. I lost my sister when I was thirteen and she was sixteen. Typical of our ages, we fought a lot. We complained about each other constantly. Luckily, the last summer I spent with her, we were pitted together on a very boring vacation, where we had nothing to do but hang out with each other. Now I can’t hear certain songs from the summer of 2000 without being taken back to that trip, by her side. She would have been thirty years old last week, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. I never would have seen that day coming, not in a million years. I didn’t realize the importance of our time together until it was too late. If I could pass one piece of knowledge on to anyone I know, or have never met, it would be to realize that importance.
I have dealt with a lot of drama in my family. I have said goodbye to my sister, cried at older my brother’s wedding, supported my younger brother when he came out as gay, watched my parents’ relationship blow up and end in divorce. My family has seen me break down in tears, jump for joy, and scream in fury. One’s relationship with their family can be the most dramatic relationship they ever endure in their lifetime. However, it is can also be the most rewarding and important relationship you will have in your life, and should be treated as such. Just remember the positive, and don’t let go of what is important.[divider] [/divider]
Mary Hollis lives in Columbia, SC. After going to school for English, and determining that doing so was basically useless, she works as an optician, and is mildly obsessed with sunglasses. She spends her time obsessing over Gamecock football, re-reading the Harry Potter books, trying to explain to people that it is unacceptable to just call her “Mary,” and blowing up Instagram with pictures of her dogs, who are cuter than anyone else’s dogs. Follow her at @stuckinsc for proof.
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