"Into the nothing,
Faded and weary.
I won't leave and let them fall behind.
Live for the dying.
Heaven hear me--
I know we can make it out alive."
Nothing like a family function to remind you of all you have...
Spent today and yesterday down at Ocean City. It was my cousin Connor's birthday today (he just turned 9), and Friday's always the day that family has Game Night, so we went down on Friday and stayed over. We don't go to Game Night too often, but when we do, it's always really fun. They break out every party game they own, and Rock Band is left on in the basement on their giant home-theater/projector setup (which by itself is pretty amazing), but by far the most popular game is also fairly simple. I forget what it's called (the box has long since been thrown out from overuse), but it's basically a combination of Pictionary and Whisper-Down-The-Lane. Laughs are guaranteed.
To be honest, though... I didn't participate much this time. I mean, normally I at least play Rock Band for a while, particularly if Butch is there (he's an even better singer than I am, which is actually saying something), but I mostly hung out in the library and browsed the internet on my laptop. Did mostly the same thing today too, although we'll be heading off to the Boardwalk soon - hopefully it won't rain on us.
I wasn't bothered throughout; my family is used to me being anti-social at parties. I make appearances, say hi to everyone I know and a few people I don't know. I smile and nod and be polite, and then sneak quietly back upstairs. I'm the master of being invisible, even when people are looking right at me. Haven't decided whether that's a good thing or not.
...My family is huge. Did you know that? Even I hadn't quite realized how huge. I have grandparents, three uncles, two aunts via marriage (and we're expecting a third), two brothers, and four cousins, just on my mother's/grandmother's side of the family. On my biological father's side, I have grandparents, great-grandparents, an aunt and uncle, their estranged daughter, and her whole pile of siblings from my uncle's other marriage. My maternal grandfather was the youngest of eight children, and of those still living, I've got four great-aunts and one great-uncle, and their families just go on and on. My stepfather's family we try to avoid except for obligatory visits on Christmas, but there's a pile of them too - three uncles, two aunts, and two cousins that I'm aware of, but every year I see faces I don't recognize.
This isn't just extended family either, these are the people I interact with on a regular or semi-regular basis. These are people I know, people who know me. These are people who would help me if I asked them to, every single one of them...
They weren't all at Connor's birthday party, of course. But seeing the surprisingly large turnout got me thinking about them.
Michelle never talked about her family much, but when she did, it was always with... I dunno, some kind of indifference. It's one of the very few things I couldn't quite understand about her. Or maybe it was just another facade... she tends to do that if it involves emotional issues...
Christ, I just realized... I'm the oldest out of all my cousins, out of all the grandchildren, no matter what side. Any "cousins" that are older than me aren't actually my cousins, they're my mother's cousins. Everyone else is younger, even Mike, who just had a baby recently. Everyone else is younger. I mean... okay, my brothers are probably alright, they're both in high school. They'll be fine as long as I keep them strictly out of it. But the next youngest is Clint, who is 11, followed by Connor. After that comes Kate, and then Adam, and then Rider, Mike's baby. And that set of twins I saw at my stepdad's family's house once, they couldn't be more than 6. Kim'll be fine, but all her siblings are in the under-10 set...
God, they're all children. So many of them... How are there so many?
Dumb question, dumbass question. Of course there are so many; it's what people do. It's what a family is.
Never considered the whole lot of them at once though. And that's not even counting honorary family members... Butch, Jen, Sarah, Emma, Chris... Melissa's too old, I think, but only just.
...Emotionally speaking, I have a lot of support. Pragmatically speaking, I have a lot of targets.
Y'know... not even counting all of this, there's so much I've never told them. So many secrets I've kept. There were segments - months at a time, even - where I just gave up on talking to them. Stupid teenage "no one understands me!" angst, y'know? Truth is, they actually didn't understand a lot of it, but I should have given them more credit than I did. What's done is done though. Sometimes I feel like there's a wall between us now... the same wall that's between me and the whole damn world. There's a reason most of my friends are online friends, after all.... though I'm beginning to see the benefits of that too. 1) There's a lot of them. 2) They're easy to cut yourself off from if necessary.
...Wow, it's kind of intimidating just how many people I'd have to cut myself off from, should shit hit the fan. I wonder if they'd look for me? Probably not for a while; like I said, I have a tendency of just dropping off radar for weeks at a time. Been trying to avoid that with blogger, at least. Timestamps and record-keeping are very, very important in this venture.
Y'know... god forbid any of them should die, but I just have so many family members and a not inconsiderable number of friends - close friends, all of them, purely digital though they may be - it'd be really, really hard to kill all of them. I'll always be able to find a home somewhere.
That's good to know.
Blah. Disjointed, rambling post is disjointed and rambling. Mostly I just wanted to distract myself from worrying about Michelle. Week 1 is almost down, at least. We'll see.
Still... Nothing like a family function to remind you of all you have to lose.