Note: This is written for humor purposes. I’m sorry if it’s not okay with you, but that’s not my problem. **might be offensive to some readers**

I don’t know what to write, I just feel the need to write. Hell when I get like this I’m not even looking at my screen anymore, I’m just typing the words that come from the deepest darkest recesses of my brain. Which is rather frightening if you think about it.

Last weekend we went to a Family party on the wife’s side, I bitched and whined and complained because I didn’t want to go, nor did she, and I didn’t know why we were going. She did, she said we were going to support her grandparents.  She reminded me that she went to all of mine without complaint, so I felt the sudden needs to clamp my teeth on my foot and shut up. I expected it to be old people from the way she explained it, and well… honestly had it been held indoors by the time it was over it would have smelled of an old folks home. Essence of stale old people… that’s really rude of me, I know, but it’s how I feel. Honestly, 70% of the people there were old enough to be my grandfather or great-grandfather. Don’t get me wrong some of them mean well, but a few had those eyes. The ones that you can feel staring at you through brick walls, who had that look that said “Who’s that trouble maker… I wanna smack him with a willow branch, that boy needs some disicpline!!.” As a result being the non confrontational person that I am (or attempt to be as it ends up being sometimes) steered waaaaay clear. The whole thing feels like a bad situation. It was two generations of death. It was my wife’s Grandfather, grandfather, and that whole tree.

They handed out name tags. *sigh* By the gods if I didn’t love my wife so much I would have bailed at that point. Name tags? I don’t do Name Tags. I don’t even wear my badge at work it goes directly into my pocket. Nothing makes me feel more like some kind of abuser, in a court ordered AA meeting, than a name tag that starts with “Hello my name is…”.  But no, I was there to support my wife, and did wear a name tag accordingly. She was compassionate and allowed me to wear it on my pants below my right pocket, and the writing was so small that you’d need a close view to read it — seeing the current populace was mostly old people, I felt safer, awkward but safer. I was still expecting someone to start handing out pieces of paper with a willow branch and 12 step program.

I decided the best thing was to do something to distract me, therefore what is a better distraction than children. I was amusing myself passing the time with various children of various sizes from various families. I wanted one of these oversized children to get rough with someone else, so I had a reason to tackle one to the ground. The physical exertion would at least me make not feel like Mr. creepy eyes who doesn’t look like he’s very mobile… but he had those eyes…. I could feel his stare of death boring into my skull and I imagined myself  being tied down to growing bamboo shoots. The last thing I wanted to become was someone who would stare down someone else’s’ kids, and decide they needed some old fashion discipline involving willow branches.

Seriously, I don’t get it. My wife says she goes to support (Insert family descendent here.) Which is very kind and generous of her. Which, that either really makes me a horrible person for putting limits on myself – or just selfish. Either way I choose to avoid places that make me fear for my life! Least of all constantly looking around in terror waiting for an ambush of willow trees.

Which don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good dysfunctional family reunion as much as the next person. I just often don’t choose to go to my own. I’ve gone to more of my own since I started dating my wife than I did in the previous 13 years. Don’t mistake me — I love my extended family, some of them are a blast to be with they are good people with the best of intentions. It is very clear to me that many of them have figured out that I am not of their… religious choosing. Most of them don’t care, they don’t preach they don’t push and they don’t try and “re-convert” me. Which is great, they are open and accepting of me and my life.

But this acceptance of me and my family is a new thing for me. It started in 2006, I was freshly divorced (Read I.E. Less than a year.) living in a low income apartments, extremely poor, and trying to figure out how in the hell I was going to afford christmas for my kids. A month before Christmas I ran into a cousin of mine who I had not seen in years, we chatted she asked how things were and I basically gave her a really quick really fast rundown of the situation. I intentionally neglected to tell her the finical burdens, and that I was living with my wife (who I was not married to at the time.). I left those details out because I don’t want to be a pity party, this isn’t any reflection on my “lack of manliness.” It’s a personal choice to me. A month later I get a phone call from my dad requesting permission on behalf of my aunt to give her my phone number and address.

This might seem strange to a lot of people, but it’s been a really big deal to me. I really like my privacy, I get really angry if someone ad-hoc gives out my residential info and phone number. This seems really menial to many people, but to me it means that people who I would like to see have it, and those who I don’t… well they can continue to drive in my very confusion neighborhood for hours and never find me, and I’d prefer it that way. This was a complete tangent.

I told him yes and inquired as to why and he sighed at me and explained briefly that they had some things for me and the kids for Christmas.

“Dad…” I said rather hesitantly. “Do they know of my current living arrangements?”

He paused slightly. “I’m not entirely sure, I believe they do.”

“Who… told them…?” I asked with complete curiosity. The fact that my dad is now calling me for permission means he nor my mother did.

“I’m.. not really sure.” He paused again. “Your mom says she hasn’t mentioned it to anyone at your request.”

This is the answer I was looking for, as my mom has been known to give out information that wasn’t any of her business to give out, and in the past it has caused me physical torture and pain.

“Umm Sure dad, go ahead and give it out, The aunts I don’t worry about that kind of info with, it’s uhh other people who aren’t directly related–”

“Such as your ex.” He finished.

“Exactly. “ I confirmed.

I expected *A* package. With a small gift per child. What I got was completely and totally off the charts. These family members did go completely…and totally out of their way… soooo far out that I’m not sure that I could ever repay them in any way that would make me feel like I had done any good for them in the course of my life. It’s still something to this day that I’m extremely grateful for. It’s not often that I have been on the receiving end of such compassion.

Charity and compassion aren’t dead, and sometimes it’s impossible to know for sure where it comes from, but this year it came from them and I’m still grateful for their generosity.

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