Women of Families

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If you have ever experienced women in families, it can be very entertaining.

In my family, there are seven of us: my grandma, my mom and her two sisters, and then me and my two sisters. And since we all come from the same Irish-hot tempered-stubborn-really smart stock, things can get a little contentious at times. When we were younger, it used to just be my mom, her sisters, and my grandma, but now that we are of adult status, my sisters and I also get drawn into the “women of families” blood bath.

My sisters and I did NOT get along when we were in high school. It was always the bathroom that we got into the biggest arguments about. I remember sitting on my sister and pulling her hair one morning because she took too long. There are definitely some holes in my mom’s house from us throwing brushes and shoes at each other. And, since we all had the same German teacher, we would vent to her in class and ask her to punish our other sister for whatever happened at home.

The most classic story, however, is about the time my older sister and I were walking to the bus together. She always made us late, and for some reason, I would wait for her. We were running late, saw the bus come up the street, and took off running. She slipped on the curb, fell down. I kept running, turned around, and said, “I will tell the bus driver you aren’t coming”. She ended up fracturing her ankle. But the good thing was that I made it to school on time.

If you are my Facebook friend, you most likely saw a post from my mother earlier this summer that asked for “IF YOU ARE BRITANY’S FRIEND, YOU SHOULD GIVE HER A TALKING TO FOR BEING SO MEAN TO HER OLDER SISTER” (of course, it was written with a few other choice words, and in all capital letters, as the the really old people of social media tend to do). The back story to this post was, my grandma was having surgery on her foot, so my aunt drove up from Georgia to help take care of her, my sister was over at the house one day, some talking happened, my mom got involved, they all decided there were some unjust treatments going on, and suddenly, it was four of the Edgerton women against three.

I just accept it when this kind of stuff happens, because it happens all the time. It usually starts with one person gossiping to another, then that person tells someone else and the three of them jump on the “We don’t like So and So” brigade; So and So hears about it, calls the other women who are not involved, and they gang up against the original gossipers. And, it just snowballs and feuds like that for a while until one person decides to switch sides or something else comes along that the women can gossip about. When I am the one being ostracized, I never worry too much about it, because I know that eventually, the tides will change and we will pick someone else.

For example, right now, my older sister and I are most close, because my younger sister played a trick on me and told me we were getting a Bernese Mountain Dog, even though we are not. So my older sister is consoling me in my sorrows and disappointments as we talk about how mean my younger sister was in playing that trick. But, I know that eventually, this will shift. The two of them will gang up against me, I will gang up against my older sister and it will come back again. I love them all unconditionally anyways.

However, while women in families can be very dramatic, what I think is beautiful is how they come together for the men in their families.

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My grandpa’s four sisters came into town last week and I had the wonderful opportunity to hang out with them–by far, some of the coolest old ladies I have ever met. My grandpa, who is quite old and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, just sat on the couch while his sisters adorned him with attention. They were all so concerned with what Donnie wanted, and what Donnie was doing. They told loving stories I had never heard before about their family growing up and, when we left, all they could talk about was what they wanted to do with my grandpa the next day, how they wanted to spend just a little more time with him. Although the four of them came from Nebraska, from Houston, from Omaha, from married families, divorced families, deceased families, from a wide range of ages, what brought them together was my grandpa.

I see this same phenomenon occurring in my own family. My brother is probably one of the luckiest guys in the world–he is the youngest, and only boy, of four children. If there was one person in our family who was going to eat and have clean clothes when we were growing up, it was going to be my brother; as his older sisters, we collectively do whatever it takes to protect him and take care of him. Last summer, we caught wind that someone beat him up. So, what did we all do? We all cancel our plans and drive around town, looking for him and whoever beat him up; they needed to get a dose of his older sisters; no one messes with our brother (hopefully his girlfriend never breaks his heart because that might be one very unfortunate situation).

Or, more recently, he found himself in a sticky situation. So, what do we do? One sister calls the other. The other one calls the one sister, so the one sister tells the other sister she will call her back after she talks to the other sister. We have this triangle going for a while, trying to figure out what we can do to help my brother. We all serve our separate roles. My older sister is usually the scrappier one–she is usually the one who offers to beat someone up, no matter age or gender. My younger sister is usually the affair-settler; she makes the phone calls, talks to the appropriate people, relays information to the rest of us. I like to consider myself the rational one and the money bags; if bail needs to be posted, I am usually the one to fork it out, and also the one to calm everyone else down when it looks like someone’s pressure cooker might blow.

For some reason, the women of families feel this instinctual need to take care of the men of families. I have also seen it happen where the women in a family are so mean to a guy’s girlfriend and end up driving her away because they have some innate sense that the girl is bad news bears, which she usually turns out to be. Or, the women of the family might threaten the guy and say, “don’t screw things up with this one!” because they know the girlfriend at hand is a gem. We are always looking out for the men in some way or another.  I think it’s actually kind of beautiful how we will often put ourselves, our friendships, our reputations, our differences with each other on the line to protect the men of our families.

So, men of families, the next time you roll your eyes at the seemingly petty women-of-families drama, remember what they do for you (I let my brother use my shower after a long day’s work since he smells really, really bad, even though I have to scrub out the dirt and pick up his laundry afterwards).

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We love you, Cameron!

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