Posts tagged Family
Posts tagged Family
I got a gift certificate for food at a local restaurant today. Having walked several miles after eating just a small bowl of shredded wheat, I booked it there and was eating a delicious plate of chicken teriyaki. A little girl waved at me from the table in front of me, and I waved back. Her mother tapped her hand and said, “Don’t wave at strangers.”
The little girl asked why, and said she waved because I was eating by myself and not with my family. Instead of answering with something like “Maybe her family doesn’t live here” or “Because she wants to”, Mama Bear answers, “Maybe she isn’t lucky enough to have a family that loves her like you do, or maybe her family is mad at her for asking too many questions and not eating her dinner.” I rolled my eyes.
The girl replied, “That’s sad mommy,” and contemplated this for a second. She then looked at me and shouted, loud enough for the entire place to hear, “I’M SORRY YOU DON’T HAVE A FAMILY MRS PERSON!”
I thought her mother was going to die of embarrassment. Give your kids a bullshit, half-insulting answer, expect them to make sure your ass ends up mortified.
Bravo, wee one. Bravo.
My sister-in-law, Beth, just posted this picture of my nephew Charlie. Immediately, this scene from A Christmas Story popped into my head. Basically, Randy is so bundled up, he can’t put his arms down. Somehow, Charlie doesn’t seem to mind.
I get to see everyone at Christmas and my mom said Charlie’s walking now. At Thanksgiving, he was just stumbling like a drunk. Three steps, fall, two steps, fall… etc, but he’s cruising now. I’m stoked to see Red (my brother), Beth, and Charlie.
Even though I’m not into the whole deity thing, I love seeing family at holidays. That’s why Tim Minchin’s “White Wine in the Sun” is my favorite (truly secular) holiday song. Take a listen - it’s one of the most beautiful songs ever:
Every holiday is also a reminder of who’s no longer there and how the faces around the table have changed. I’ve noticed my parents, my brother, and I are all aging. I’ve divorced and remarried. My brother got married and he and his wife have Charlie. My grandparents have all passed away. My great aunts and uncles have as well. My extended family is scattered around the US and we rarely see each other - if ever again. I haven’t seen many cousins in Ohio for over 10 years.
But those of us nearby still make an effort to get together on Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, it’s perfect. Somehow, it’s always exactly how it is supposed to be, no matter who’s at the table. This year, it’ll be my mom, dad, my brother, my husband, Beth, Charlie, and (likely) Beth’s sister Jaime.
The presents are nice, but the company is better. It’s just what I want this year.
Conservative culture warrior explains “How to talk about same-sex marriage at Thanksgiving.”
Take note, Tumblrs. Three easy steps! Remember step three: If you take issue with the Turkey Day proselytizing of your 700 Club-watching great aunt, you’re being intolerant. So start being more tolerant of marriage fundamentalists and shut up. Amirite???
Oh jeebus… I can’t even…
My husband, Andrew, with my nephew Charlie. He said babies freak him out, but Charlie was cool with chilling on his lap and watching South Park.
Andrew decided Charlie was alright, so that’s good. I’m happy to be an auntie, but no kids for us for awhile.
Family helps me relax. One question I get sometimes, frequently from anons, is “How do you not lose your mind being so pissed off all the time?” or something similar. Well, here’s one answer.
What’s “queer”? Here’s one train of thought about it. The depressing thing about the Christmas season—isn’t it?—is that it’s the time when all the institutions are speaking with one voice. The Church says what the Church says. But the State says the same thing: maybe not (in some ways it hardly matters) in the language of theology, but in the language the State talks: legal holidays, long school hiatus, special postage stamps and all. And the language of commerce more than chimes in, as consumer purchasing is organized ever more narrowly around the final weeks of the calendar year, the Dow Jones aquiver over Americans’ “holiday mood.” The media, in turn, fall in triumphally behind the Christmas phalanx: ad-swollen magazines have oozing turkeys on the cover, while for the news industry every question turns into the Christmas question—Will hostages be free for Christmas? What did that flash flood or mass murder (umpty-ump people killed and maimed) do to those families’ Christmas? And meanwhile the pairing “families/Christmas” becomes increasingly tautological, as families more and more constitute themselves according to the schedule, and in the endlessly iterated image, of the holiday itself constituted in the image of “the” family.
The thing hasn’t, finally, so much to do with propaganda for Christianity as with propaganda for Christmas itself. They all—religion, state, capital, ideology, domesticity, the discourses of power and legitimacy—line up with each other so neatly once a year, and the monolith so created is a thing one can come to view with unhappy eyes. What if instead there were a practice of valuing the ways in which meanings and institutions can be at loose ends with each other? What if the richest junctures weren’t the ones where everything means the same thing? Think of that entity “the family,” an impacted social space in which all of the following are meant to line up perfectly with each other:
- a surname
- a sexual dyad
- a legal unit based on state-regulated marriage
- a circuit of blood relationships
- a system of companionship and succor
- a building
- a proscenium between “private” and “public”
- an economic unit of earning and taxation
- the prime site of economic consumption
- the prime site of cultural consumption
- a mechanism to produce, care for, and acculturate children
- a mechanism for accumulating material goods over several generations
- a daily routine
- a unit in a community of worship
- a site of patriotic formation
This is a brief, yet excellent look at Christmas and what it means for queer individuals, and further, what queer means - holidays or not. Thanks to my friend Aneda who sent this to me.
Eels - “Everything’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas”
I’m looking forward to Christmas this year. In 2008, I was packing to move, so stressed. 2009, I was stuck here because of a blizzard. I actually get to see my family this year at Christmas.
Luckily, my family likes each other. But I know there’s folks who don’t have that luxury, and Patton understands you.