Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Vacation with the Fam...Good Times had by...well...Most!

A couple of weeks ago a large part of my extended family met in the Outer Banks, North Carolina for a week of blessed togetherness (sarcasm). Twenty people of all ages and sizes squashed into a beautiful house on the beach. I’d like to say it went off without a hitch. But I’d be lying. All in all, though, a good time was had by…well…most. #:0)

Being with family is always an experience, no matter what your age. When any family gets together for an extended period of time, certain things will happen. Old rivalries will resurface, competitive instincts will revive, and entrenched insecurities will rise to the surface.

It is, of course, no different in my family. But we perhaps cope with it a bit differently than other families.

In my family we don’t go at it face to face. We abhor direct, frontal attacks. They make our palms sweat. We prefer a sneakier program, rich with whispered sniping and private smoldering when somebody doesn’t quite come up to snuff. We embrace passive aggressive techniques and have grown expert at dishing out playful but revenge-tinged activities that both entertain and satisfy.

We put firecracker caps on toilet seats, play tackle kickball on the beach, and put spider “ice cubes” into people’s drinks.

Of course ye old water balloon made a soggy appearance. And a few of us found ourselves chewing an air sandwich on our way into the pool fully dressed. But these are mundane revenge tactics…almost not worth mentioning.

I prefer to talk about the fake cat poop that kept showing up everywhere. Now that’s a truly classy form of revenge!

Seriously though, we all love each other. And we have a lot of fun when we get together. But between the heartfelt hugs and the I love yous, we’re all thinking whether adding shaving cream to the water balloons or short-sheeting the twelve-year-old’s bed would give us more pleasure.

What can I say…we’re a playful bunch.

The tackle kickball? It didn’t start out that way. But we’re very competitive and, well, it was too boring doing it the normal way. So I threw the first tackle. I admit it. And it was a sight to behold. My older sister, a beautiful and kind woman who’d do anything in the world for any of us, was rounding second on her way to third after an impressive kick to the outfield (which my team-mates were stumbling and bumbling to retrieve). A consistent and infuriating size 4, my lovely sister didn’t have a chance when I set my sights on her. I lift 50 lb bags of grain in my barn on a daily basis, so the added 60 pounds of her diminutive frame were almost nothing to me. I picked her up and slammed her (gently of course) to the warm sand, giggling in delight) I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that my delight had nothing at all to do with the fact that the woman couldn’t gain a pound of fat if her life depended on it. While I, alas, have many scars from a lifelong battle with the pudge monster. No, it was all in good fun (lie). And it gave the family many hours of hilarity discussing how her head bounced off the sand as I landed on her.

And we were off.

Bodies flew everywhere. Hilarity abounded (word?) Other people on the beach stopped what they were doing and pulled up chairs to enjoy the show. A gorgeous storm slid in over the water and sent high winds into the game, blowing us around like one of the team.

At one point, my niece (a very confident woman) and I advanced growling on my daughter’s six foot five inch boyfriend as he rounded third. He screamed like a girl. Unfortunately, he also danced like a butterfly and got around us, making it home for a point.

Dang it.

I’ll get him next time.

Yes, we are competitive. But I’m proud to say we drew the line at tackling my 77 year old mother (yes, she was playing too!) or my 8 year old niece to the ground. And great fun was had by all. Well, except for my brother, who’d been tackled by a girl and wasn’t too happy about it. Yay for me!

I love my family. They’ve given me a wonderful place in this world. They’ve provided me with love. They’ve offered undying, unconditional support, and they’re always there when I need them. They ground me and give me a sense that I belong in this world. I wouldn’t trade them for anything and I cherish every last one of them (damn lie).

But that doesn’t mean I won’t tackle their butts next time we play kickball!
What can I say, as that great philosopher Popeye once said, “I yam what I yam.”

And mostly I’m okay with that.

No comments: