Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Yesterday, I had one of those days that affirms that I have one of the nicest families into which one can be born. My four sisters who live here in Brisbane, our husbands, and my three Brisbane-based off spring gathered to celebrate the life of one of their mothers-in-law who died just before the weekend. When the Graves Girls are really needed, they are there at hand and ready to do what needs doing. That's something really important in life, I think.

I'm also very proud of my off-spring. They all came out of respect for The Aunt and her family, and in memory of all the good times they have had with this particular family, not cos they knew Granny as well as did others at the funeral.

My offspring call my sisters 'The Aunts'. Depending on the day and the mood, there is sometimes a rolling of the eyes when the term is used - but only just for fun to add emphasis to whatever is being said about these women collectively. The Graves cousins (my sisters' children) apparently call us all 'The Sisters'. I occasionally think of these sisters as 'The Drama Queen Quartet', but I love them dearly. The MOTH, who has only known them for 5 years, loves them to pieces, too, and is quite envious of our family gatherings.

I have two siblings apart from those mentioned above: an older sister and an older brother. My eldest sister left home more than 30 years ago and lives the quiet life in Canberra. She's still a big part of the family by telephone, but chooses not to come to family celebrations or funerals (sibling's weddings were the exception) and she discourages visitors because she says she's too disorganised to tidy her house to allow them to stay. Sadly, she's never married nor had kids, so I guess she doesn't have the need to get the next generation interacting. I think she's a bit nuts, but I love her to pieces, all the same.

My only brother lives on the Gold Coast. His wife loathes her 6 sisters-in-law. Being an only daughter, I could understand her reticence that at the beginning, but not now after 28 years of marriage. She uses her sore back and inability to travel the 70km to visit as an excuse to have missed every family gathering we have had in the last 20 years, yet she travels with my brother whenever he goes to Melbourne, Tasmania, New Zealand, sailing the South Pacific, etc. We've been invited to only two parties since they were married in 1982 - and my sister-in-law was horrified that all our off-spring (and mountainous plates of food to feed them all) came with us to help celebrate the events in question. She discourages every attempt I make to come and visit, saying yes to some and then cancelling or flatly refusing opportunities to gather together.

Consequently, my brother's nearly adult off-spring hardly know their Graves cousins. It's sad. I miss my brother a lot but I guess, they know where I live and have a telephone that they can use to invite themselves over, if they want.

Six out of seven communicate really well, and obviously love each other dearly, even if we don't see each other every day. Five of us make regular wine sipping time for each other. We are the lucky family, in my humble opinion.

What about you? Have you been blessed with a vibrant & communicating family, like mine?


Daughter of the Midwest said...

My mom has frequently referred to her family as retarded dysfunctional, with alot of laughter from the family in question. We have our share of nuts in the tree, but all love each other dearly and love to accept new members whole heartedly. They are on the phone at least twice a week, regardless if it's Aunt Sandy (that is a whole 'nother story) who is just up the street, or Mom, two hours away. If something bad happens, everyone is on the road and racing to the rescue. If something good happens, everyone is on the road, racing to the party. I only fear one thing, that my grandparents are the center ring of this circus I was born into, and when their time on this earth is done, that the circus will fold. It's a wild, beautiful, silly, touching ride and I do not want to get off. I am so glad that my mother and I have 'made our peace' and can be mom & kid now.

Chiloe said...

I'ml not as lucky as you to have a nice sibling. I don't get along very well with my brother. I would have dream to have a sister (and dreamed Emma could have a sister !!!)

WHy do you think you communicate so well? DOes it come from your parents? Or the way you were raised yourself: your parents were getting along very well with their own family?

I'd love to know as I would love my 3 kids can still love each other when they are adult ...