Chapter Two: Familius Relativitus and Other Species
When I was young, I, as many other children do, believed that my parents had been married forever. I thought they were some of the lucky few who just had happened to be born married, and I felt gypped in the romance department way earlier than I should have. As reality set in, I was blessed with the realization that this was not the case and that they, too, had to suffer romantically many times over before they found each other and themselves within one another.
They began their lives in separate worlds-as do all characters in romance-based media. My mother was born on the East side of the state, in Bay City. A small town on the-you guessed it-bay, she had the ability to walk to school every day, had a plethora of friends within her neighborhood, and could walk to her grandmother’s house in under ten minutes.
Under the influence of her parents, she grew up incredibly organized, Catholic, a social butterfly, and with just enough crazy in her upbringing to give her personality a lovely tinge of individuality. When your mother comes home from a hair appointment in the 70’s with the newest trend upon her head which effectually causes your bird to fall off his perch, you know that afro is going to affect your childhood and you have to embrace it with all you’ve got.
This lovely, hummingbird-saving individual was also a registered B.A., I’ll have you know. When the girls’ tennis team at her high school was discontinued, she petitioned to get herself on the boys’ team-a successful endeavor that allowed her to participate in her sport despite all odds.
My father, on the flip side of things, was raised in Benzie County in the middle of nowhere, rescuing unconventional stray animals-an owl, a fox, and a deer, all on separate occasions-that had been injured somehow. My father and uncle nursed them back to health with the help of my grandparents before they released them back into the wild.
As is true to form, my mother’s childhood environment was compact and clustered clearly, whereas my father’s was incredibly spread thin. I remember a specific visit to my grandparents’ when we passed a house he pointed out. He had remembered it as belonging to a friend of his he went to high school with… and twenty minutes later on those highway roads, we arrived at our destination.
He spent his days as a child on the lake, diving with his brother for weighted milk jugs they dropped to the bottom. When high school hit, he chose wrestling over any other sport, collecting a plethora of medals we currently showcase as a family in our basement.
Of course, once high school endeavors end, one must make the transition to the collegiate lifestyle. This is where their paths met. They had been seeing other people for years at this point, but they met nonetheless (which is probably not all that reassuring for everyone currently worrying about this exact situation happening to them once they and their significant other tread separate academic paths).
All the nitty-gritty relationship-discouraging information aside, they dated for three and a half years before tying the knot. By that time, they had
thank God Almighty worked out their childish issues and had only clear skies ahead of them.
This man became my father’s father-in-law (grandmother not pictured due to unexpected lack of old photographs of her in the familial setting),
and these two became my mother’s father- and mother-in-law:
A less theatric photo of them would perhaps suffice…
Yes, lovely people all of them.
After ten years of attempting to have a child, my parents decided to adopt. Thankfully for them, they got me. But for real, I kid. I feel blessed to have been gifted this family-it’s always said that you can’t choose your relatives, and that’s true in my case
unfortunately, but they chose me. I think often about where I could be if I hadn’t been taken home on that early Spring day. Some situations are better, a lot are worse-the better looking hypothetical situations usually come around when we aren’t getting along very cohesively. The worse comes at any other time.
Jack came along three and a half years after I came into the family-ironically the same amount of time mom and dad spent getting to know each other. This time, they didn’t need to adopt; he just appeared at the right time.
Somehow, our family ended up neither in Bay, nor Traverse, of Cities, but in Grand Rapids. Mom had a teaching job in Rockford with the little ones, and Dad was an insurance salesman-a career that would end in relative success in the future. We are still here now; Mom has since retired, preferring to spend the time she can with her children, and Dad, as previously mentioned, has pursued a business with his brother. Jack and I attend school, and I just received my first college acceptance letter today. We’re moving up in this world, and the only people we need to keep up with are ourselves.
One year my father was the Easter Bunny in our old neighborhood.
It’s safe to assume he never took on the role again.