Don't Call It a Comeback...

It's time for my annual Come-to-Jesus meeting with the family.

There should be a word for a trip home to see family like this. It isn't quite vacation, that's for sure, though it doesn't seem to qualify as anything else.

I've got a more-or-less common middle-child job in the family. I'm the one that has to negotiate the other family members' crisis-personae. For years, my mother and sister have had a feud happening that simmers quietly beneath the surface of everything. My younger brother has elevated directionless to an art form. And my mother and father have a weird relationship that'd make a good episode of some TV show if we were the sort who'd air our laundry out where anyone (let alone anyone else) could actually see.

The family question is a two-headed devil where jobs are concerned. My parents are coming up on their 70s, and they don't take particularly good care of themselves. My siblings are reasonably useless in regards to taking care of anyone, and they're prone to giant explosions besides. So while I feel like I need to be close to my family to help take care of them, particularly as my parents get older, on the other hand, the need is to not get too close. Maybe it's fortunate that academia hasn't seen fit to do anything kind for me in terms of location so far. At least this way, it's not my fault I'm nowhere near, absolving me of the guilt of not being there and the guilt of not wanting to be right there.

Part of the annual trip home has become a lunch with the family that devolves into something like professional performance reviews. This is me taking everyone out, then taking everyone aside, and telling them what the others won't/can't say, and how I think they might want to try and deal with these things. I'm particularly proud that I eventually realized that saving this until the very last day of the trip had many benefits - a largely pleasant visit, a largely quiet return while everyone (myself included) adjusts to uncomfortable truths.

There are benefits to going home, of course. I've still got friends there. There are still restaurants I love. And, of course, it's mostly good to see my family. And getting to scoot away from them is almost as nice.

So if I don't appear on here for a bit - though I'm sure I'll need all my usual spots to vent - have a good one, dear readers. And wish me luck.

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ash said...

actually, you sound more like an oldest child...which i am guessing you are in practice, if not chronologically.

August 12, 2008 at 1:46 PM
ash said...

road blogging! road blogging!

vidi vini venti!

August 16, 2008 at 8:23 AM