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Posts Tagged ‘dysfunction’

Speaking to a friend from Texas today, I noted that Southern families, or maybe just farming families in general, seem to have tragedies woven into their histories, generation after generation. This probably isn’t a fair assessment – Northerners have plenty of dysfunction, too, no? – but it’s what I know.

Southerners can be shockingly straightforward about the past. An uncle dies, you hear the story of how he accidentally shot another man while hunting in his youth, and barely escaped jail time. Again and again you hear about the aunt who died decades too young because a pompous doctor refused to perform a life-saving hysterectomy. You learn about an old family friend who lost his hearing and hand to a careless dynamite accident.

Cancer. Alcoholism. Diabetes. Car accidents. House fires. Thwarted love. Mental illness. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. There are a thousand things that can go wrong, and a thousand things that do go wrong.

When things go right, there’s not so much story, but isn’t that the story that should be told?

My brother, raised by a father whose own father abandoned him before he was even born, a man whose love for us in the end couldn’t overcome what he had missed growing up, has been an unbelievably good father to his two daughters. He may be a natural, but I suspect he is purposely railing against the past.

I’m married to the sort of man that my mom deserved, a man who actually wants to be married to me, and isn’t just filling the role that society dealt him.

Having spent my life outrunning dozens of potential unhappy endings, it always shocks me a little to think that my brother and I may actually be OK, that we’ll stay happily married to our respective spouses, that he’ll always be the guy who really deserves the No. 1 Dad coffee cup, that we’ll pursue careers we don’t despise and maintain hobbies that we love.

I don’t know if I’ll ever stop running. But the idea that I might win lets me catch a breath every now and then.

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