My mother went to work when I was 7, and my father was most likely the first stay at home dad in the United States. A role model or instruction manual would have been nice, really really nice.
I’m pretty sure squirting the Jehovah Witnesses off the front porch with a garden hose would have been frowned upon in the instruction manual. Hey, at least he didn’t ask us to be accomplices, he just told us to”watch this.” In his defense, they were warned and clearly weren’t used to people following through with their threats.
Our family already stuck out like sore thumbs amongst the Ward & June Cleaver types on our block. My parents were 20 years apart; I have (2) siblings old enough to be my parents, another sister who is 15 months older than me, who was no doubt the, oops, leaving me to be the WTF shock. Honestly, the only thing drawing more attention would be a third eye or tentacles.
This dynamic was much harder on the older siblings. They grew up in an era where families were portrayed as “perfect.” The white picket fence father knows best era. I never trusted those homes, everyone has some Samsonite, and those people locked it in the closet.
My sister and I really had an advantage. Our examples were more realistic with an integrated family like The Brady Bunch surfacing along with the All In The Family crew that made us look downright acceptable. We were way ahead of the Modern Family times.
When you’re born into crazy, there is only one thing to do…LAUGH. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We all walked away with quick wits and the ability to find humor in just about any occasion.
Soon after arriving it was clear that either the air conditioning wasn’t working up to par or we were all having a unison heat flash. Not good in close quarters when it’s already close to 100 outside.
One of my sisters came back from the restroom and claimed “Omg! I look like a freaking rice cake with lipstick!” The best part about this is we all “got it” and could quickly respond with a confirmed “Omg! You do, you need some peanut butter girl.”
It’s official folks … RiceKake will now be included on the list of other famous sayings within our family circle. The new spelling was given the next day by the creator, just to give it edge…so badass.
Yesterday my husband referred to me as a RiceKake when I surfaced from a public restroom dripping with sweat after suffering stomach pains. Nothing says love quite like..Are you alright you look like a RiceKake? I quickly responded with…Seriously, I need some Nutella!
My mother was famous for the term “crazy as a hoot owl.” Throughout the years it has been altered to a simple “hooty” and for extreme situations “hooty in the highest.” This is a reference given to those people who are either crazy in a good way or a notch away from insanity. Please do not confuse this with “suits of skin” which is in a separate category.
All of the women in our family, including the offspring, use the term “he/she has a hair.” This originated from “he/she has a bug up their ass.” Over the years, depending on the level of attitude, we have all tweaked this to meet our individual needs.
It started out with a hair, which led to a ponytail that soon graduated into a braid and ended with a dread, which is short for dreadlocks. Oh yes, we all know it’s bad when one of us says “dam, he/she has a freaking dread!” You haven’t seen attitude until you’ve seen someone with a dread!
Example of use: Daughter: Mom, my boss had the biggest hair today.
Me: How bad?
Daughter: Oh, at least a braid!
Me: Well, he was probably just having a bad day, don’t worry about it.
My upbringing made me who I am today, complete with my own set of Samsonite to bring with me into adulthood. Recently I recognized the importance of working through the unpleasant moments by embracing the flaws in my baggage and sorting through all the good things that I safely tucked away in those little secret compartments. That’s where All the good stuff is.
Our families give us character, some more colorful than others, but ultimately all the same. The more we all except who we are, the easier it is to …. Enjoy the Ride!