Thursday, January 04, 2007

You must not know about me.

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."

True dat.

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!"

You think?

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.


Brown Eyed Girl said...

Ya know it's the same for me.

Although my family does seem to know plenty about me...and sometimes too much so they need to mind their own business..

However, what I get irritated by is the sibling "you get more attention than I do" when I don't. NOT even a little bit.

The difference is that I have kids. She does not. When I say "I talked to Dad yesterday" and you say "Well that's JUST great..I haven't talked to Dad in 2 weeks." Ask me...ASK ME what we talked about? Wanna know...Kyle's baseball tryouts...this wasn't a "how are you" conversation...atleast when you talk to Dad there's a 50/50 shot you're actually going to discuss yourself.

Know what? Right now..I hate my siblings..this comes as quite a shock to me..but you're right..

Families are a funny thing.

M said...

Your feelings are valid and realistic and I know them too well.

Hey...did you know I don't like pumpkin pie or tomatoes?! (My fave my mother doesn't know me examples.)

The only positive? At least you know your kids and always will and will not make the same mistakes. Somehow it's little of a consolation prize but it's the only glimmer of hope I've got for ya.


Rachel (Crazy-Is) said...

One good thing is that you know how it that feels and you will not pass that on to your kids. Sometimes I wonder if I take enough interest in what my oldest daughter tells me and wants to do. That's mostly because my youngest is just getting ready to turn one and it's been a little hard spending enough time with both of them.

Sidenote: I wish Harold Ford, Jr. had won the election and I honestly think his family's problems had ALOT to do with it. I live in Memphis, so I see first had all the bad things they do, the bad publicity and I am very glad that Jr. is nothing like them.

CPA Mom said...

Harold Ford, Jr.?? Family problems? Help a Virginia girl out.

My mom is great. She just has trouble fitting me in her schedule. But at least she's not that bad.

My dad, my older sister, they disowned me. They dont' know anything about me and don't want to.

My younger sisters, adore me and I adore them.

So I guess I've got a little of both. I'm lucky.

On a bright note, I WANT TO KNOW ALL ABOUT YOU. The better to stalk you with. Ahem.

Alpha Dude said...

I know how you feel. Hang in there, you're doing fine. I think you're funny, that's why I stalk your blog.

When I graduated college, my family's response was "Gee, I never thought you make it".
When I passed the exams for my professional license - same response.

Don't worry - not everyone is like that. On Christmas day, my mother-in-law sat me down and said, "I don't think I know you well enough. Let's talk and get to know each other better". She's a really sweet lady.

I like how you show positive affirmations to your husband. That
s rare these days. He's a lucky guy.

Keep doing what you're doing. You are doing fine.

God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to flood your blog with comments today. You're an awesome writer chickie poo.

I just wanted to let you know that you're awesome no matter what your family knows or doesn't know about you. Ok? We straight on that?

I miss you, lady!

SJINCO said...

I feel your pain, but in a different way. Let me explain...

Being that I'm the youngest child of six - I find that I know really nothing at all about my siblings. The five of them grew up 'together' while I came along ten years after the last and pretty much grew up by myself.

And to boot, I don't know a lot about my family's history, on both my Mothers side and my Father's side, and that bothers me the most.

julie said...

I totally get this! My dad and stepmom don't know me at all! Also, I hear from them so much more now that I have provided them with a grandchild. This, of course, shows how much they valued me as a person before. And if I had any questions about it, it was confirmed last year. As I was leaving their house after Thanksgiving, my stepmom said, "Be sure to drive carefully, you know, now that you have something to live for."

Are you f*$^ing kidding me?! Thanks. Thanks so much for that.

Bethany said...

I was going to leave you a comment about how great I think you are (because I do think that) but then I read Julie's comment. Now I want to go bitch-slap her stepmother!

Brown Eyed Girl said...

I love Bethany.....

Silly Hily said...

I can't relate to the family thing really b/c my family seems to know too much about me. You might be a grown up but those are still your parents and you are still their child and you would be crazy if this didn't bother you. I think it's only natural. Have you thought about telling them it bothers you?

I can say that yes, I think Harold Ford, Jr's family hurts him big time. I see it on the local news first-hand also. They are horrible and I hate hearing about them. I love Jr. though and can't stand it when people judge him because of his family. I normally shut them up pretty fast when I ask if they would want people judging them because of something one of their family members did. Poor Jr.

That Chick Over There said...

Talking about it=Pointless. It's all about the denial!

I think I need to just find a way to get over it. It's not going to change.