Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Families Are All Alike

I’m fascinated by those television reality shows about big families. You know the ones, with anywhere from twelve to sixteen, nope make that seventeen, kids. I note that the mothers in those shows are always abnormally calm. Prozac-calm.

Me, I come from good Beserker stock. I come from people with names like Olaf the Terrible and Sven the Morose. Just ask my three children. They’ll tell you life in our household was loud, but never boring. They’ll tell you my mothering style was something along the lines of Becky Sharp Meets Tony Soprano (they mean that in a good way, of course.)

Not that I ever lost my temper in public. I’m a Southern girl, and we’re taught that to display anger in public is the height of white-trashery. We’re taught that you should never strike or rebuke your children in public, but should instead wait to do so in the privacy of your own home.

So I wasn’t Donna Reed. So sue me. I’m a survivor. I’ve raised three teenagers and I have the baggy skin and frown lines to prove it. And I did so without the help of pharmaceuticals, I might add. (Martinis, yes – pharmaceuticals, no.) My husband and I are whittled down some, but we’re still standing.

Still, watching those TV shows about large happy families, it’s easy to get a little misty-eyed. Last night while getting ready for bed, I mentioned to my husband that maybe we should have had ten children, bought a farm in the country, home-schooled our offspring, and baked our own bread.

He looked at me with an incredulous expression and then began to laugh. His laughter was long and sustained, bordering on hysteria.

He was still laughing this morning.

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