A – Z Challenge – F is for….

well,..   yes F *is* for the big F-word but I actually very rarely swear (it’s way more effective when I do as people know I’m really serious!).
So my F-word is Family.

I have the best family of anyone I know; I have a better family than people I don’t know too. It was many years before I realised that not all families were like mine –  I thought ours was “normal”  but as I got older and heard people talk about their families, their family disputes, dysfunctions and estrangements I realised that my family is actually quite abnormal.   Post-teenage years we’ve never had any arguments or falling outs; ….  no one has spent years not talking to any one else.   No-one has been disinherited;  no-one has disowned the family.

Perhaps it comes from being a small family…  my father was an only child; mother was one of two girls.  Mum & dad doubled themselves with 4 kids whilst mum’s sister married and had 2 children who have no kids so their line stops there.

We four produced eleven and two of those are now married.   It is truly wonderful when we all get together – there are so many laughs.  We don’t touch on many “heavy” personal subjects but I know that I could rely on any of them if I needed to.  We don’t tend to ask much of each other though and we can be like a super secret branch of the CIA  – sharing only what needs to be shared on a need-to-know basis.   This can be a frustrating but it’s now just an accepted quirk of our family.

I think all of us have great respect for each other and we genuinely like each other.  Even our next generation displays this respect and liking for their elders, siblings and cousins.

Pretty amazing really!

This is the last time we were all together –  September 201o for my father’s 79th birthday.   Only 2 of his grandchildren were missing that day.    I hope he makes it to his 80th (I already have my plane ticket home) and I hope there is a full contingent for the photo…

The people I grew up with

The patriarch with 9 of his 11 grandchildren and two grand-daughters-in-law:


41 responses

    • “Maybe the quirks make up some of the glue”. Perhaps that is so LBeeeze. If one of us wants the family to know something we have to basically tell each member of the family. No-one could accuse any of us of “gossiping” within the family – telling only one person means that it stays with that person as if it’s a secret.

  1. Good lord us girls have some big white teeth there. And without the help of any expensive dental wear I might add.
    Weird how it all works isn’t it. I was just telling someone the other day that I think our mother is a retired CIA agent. And look at all those good looking kids.

    • I have a few friends who have spent years not talking to their family and I think how sad it is that they don’t have a “happy family”. Ditto families that are held together by one person and when that person dies the other family members lose touch and never see each other again – I can’t imagine not knowing where my siblings are or not being able to talk to them.

  2. That’s fabulous. I’m very happy for anybody who grew up in a safe home.

    We don’t have fights or years of not talking or disinheritance. Those are SQUABBLES.

    We have rampant alcoholism, sexual abuse, extreme violence…(“emotional abuse” or “verbal” is not as hard to admit & of course is a part of it). Squabbles would be several steps up. I also like to imagine there’s a family somewhere like yours. I’d like to hope even though I’m almost 40, I could someday be a part of a family like yours–they won’t be my relatives, though.

    • That makes me sad MT and I’m so sorry that you didn’t get the safe home that I think every child deserves. I was probably 12 or 13 years old before I realised that not all families provided a safe and happy environment for all their members. I am extremely lucky to have the family I have and I hope that one day you can be part of something similar.

  3. That’s a wonderful tribute to you family, and thanks for sharing the photographs.
    Maybe rural families in Australia grew up with values that reflected the need to stick together during all the tough times. My family was also fairly stable until I introduced a small degree of dysfunctionality into it.

    • Thank you GOF – yes, I think there is something to the rural family theory. There is a reliance on each other for support & entertainment when you are the only people for miles around. LOL @ “a small degree of dysfunctionality”

    • Thank you monsoon. My father had a massive stroke 25 years ago which left him paralysed down one side. Sheer determination has got him through many set backs during that time and he will readily say that seeing his family expand is his greatest joy.

  4. What a lovely post, Emjay- I’ve also thought your family is quite delightful, even from the limited web interactions I’ve seen.

    Maybe the need-to-know basis information sharing isn’t such a bad thing for families after all.

    • “Maybe the need-to-know basis information sharing isn’t such a bad thing….” Purple – sometimes it can be so frustrating though but I suppose sometimes too much information does ruin relationships.

  5. I have an “abnormal” family like yours, only yours seems like a lot more fun than mine. (I think I actually said once as a teen, “We’re so normal we’re abnormal!” when I thought about how we always ate dinner together and all that kind of stuff)

    • Lol, we had the family dinner EVERY SINGLE NIGHT of my life. And we couldn’t have the TV on either!! And my father would take about a thousand years to eat his dinner. He was big on chewing every mouthful for a long time then talking for a lot longer between each mouthful. But I still made my kids sit through the whole family dinner as well.

      • Oh no, the tv was in another room, and at the end of dinner we said “please excuse me, I had a very nice dinner!” and then my dad would say “you may be excused”. Freakish!

        • We didn’t have electricity until I was 10 and then about 12 or 13 before we got a TV. We used to play board & card games, carpet bowls and we would put on family “concerts” . We had a sort of open plan dining room/living room and when we got the TV it was at the far end of the living room – oh, and there was a “bar” in the middle which basically you couldn’t see over when you were sitting at the table but still dad would turn it off so no-one was distracted. I always made my kids sit down together for dinner too even if it meant we had to fit around sport and school things with early or late dinners. I’d make each of them share something about their day with everyone – so one day they will be telling their friends how “freakish” their dinners were! LOL.

  6. What a wonderful “abnormal” family you have! It is a pleasant thing to know that each family member respects one another. No wonder all the members of your family look happy in the photos.

    • Thank you magnifika. I think respect for each other is so important and something which is disappearing from today’s society. I’m always a bit surprised that we all actually like each other!

  7. lovely family shots-….you look in the first shot very happy-I like your smile very much it is so fresh and lovely 🙂

    • LOL Katz – you will notice that I am sort of in exile here – adrift from the good family….. To be part of this family one has to be willing to travel to them downunder. My 3 kids and Jane’s son are the only ones who’ve ventured to me here.

  8. What an attractive family. You are fortunate, yes. I know plenty of people with frakked up families. I would have loved to have raised my son with a good man but it was not to be. Sept is not long away! You look very good in the photo. It is not often I see you in photos or anything other than your head.

    • Thank you GW. I’m not often in front of a camera – I prefer to be the one pressing the button. In this one I look all sort of crooked or lopsided. I think I was just popping back into the frame after remonstrating the manservant about his photographic technique 🙂

  9. We mostly get along well in my family too, but we’re different from you in that to tell one person something is to tell everybody. Makes it easy when you want something known.

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