This morning while I was in the shower, I was thinking about Harold Ford Jr. and I guess about how, at least in some small way, the problems with his family caused him to lose the election. There are other reasons, I'm sure, but that probably contributed a little. I won't get into the other reasons. I don't want to lose my testimony.
Families are weird, no?
My husband once said to me, "I'm really glad you didn't judge me based on my family. If you had, you would not have married me."
Honestly, most of my life I just wanted someone in my family to notice me. I am the third of four children and without sounding like the poster child for the middle-child-syndrome, honestly I really think I got shafted on the attention. I'm all for big families, I really am. I've made it well known that I'd love to have a third child. But it's tough.
Every year on Administrative Assistants Day, my mom asks me if my company got me anything. Every. Single. Year.
(Disclaimer: I think Administrative Assistants are generally the hardest working people in a company and often get completely screwed when it comes to compensation. Without the admin here at my office, we would have died a thousand deaths at least twenty times. And she cooks for us all the time. She is an amazing woman and it is an amazingly difficult job.)
I am not an Administrative Assistant.
I have repeatedly said to my mom, "I am not an Administrative Assistant. I'm in the Training Department."
Apparently: Training=Administrative Assistant
This year when she asks me what they got me, I'm going to be all like, "No! I got screwed over once again!" Or I'm going to tell her they gave me a $1000.
The point is, my mom doesn't know what I do for a living.
The bigger point is, she doesn't really care.
I tried, earnestly, to explain why I switched my major to Environmental Health and Teaching instead of Elementary Education. It was as though I was speaking a foreign language. I tried to explain what Environmental Health is. It was pointless. I just ended up saying, "I try to make sure nothing bad happens to the world." No nuclear waste gets spilled. No excessive smoke or pollution gets in our air. Whatever. There's a lot more to it, of course. But I think now they just think I'm a liberal hippie who is going to stop shaving her pits and start wearing clothing made out of hemp. I drive an SUV for Christ's sake. I'm not going to suddenly live in a commune or something. (I might get solar panels for the roof of my next home though. Those rock. And I've been eyeing a Hybrid SUV. And I've been known to hug a tree, but just for photographic opportunities. But I digress.)
I understand that once you have children you are no longer a person in your parents eyes. You are merely the vessel that birthed their beloved grandchildren. Still, it would be nice if my family was even remotely interested in knowing something about me.
Two things my dad has said in the past several years have really struck me.
One was when my grandfather died in 1998. A bunch of us, my grandmother included, were going to sing at his funeral. The night before the funeral we were at the church and my Aunt began to play Amazing Grace on the piano. I sang along with her playing.
My dad said to me, completely amazed, "Wow! You can really sing!"
I had spent four years in my high school choir, singing. I had sang at my brothers (first) wedding. I had gotten a job offer at Dollywood. To sing.
But he didn't know I could sing.
About a year ago I was visiting my parents and I made some comment that made everyone laugh.
My dad said to me, completely stunned, "You are really funny!"
No, seriously? You think? I've been exactly this way since...I don't know, birth? Maybe? I guess when I was a teenager (okay, and now too) it was more like sarcasm than humor. But still. I'm the same person I've always been. Always.
It just amazes me how little my family seems to know about me.
I wish it didn't bother me so much, but it really does. I'm a grown-up and I guess I need to put on my big girl panties and deal with it. But it really does bother me.