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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Raised with wolves

"You're a guy."

That's what a good friend of mine told me the other day.  We were talking about Valentine's Day and I'd mentioned how my husband both ignored my request that he not give me candy (because I'd eat it all right away and then hate myself for a week) and bought the rest of my gift at Goodwill.  Yeah, we're cheap like that.  And I laughed and said I couldn't complain too much because there I was, Valentine's Day after work, buying his gift and card at Target.  I have many some possible good qualities, but they don't inclue timeliness.  Or much sensitivity.

Don't be offended, boys.  She didn't mean I'm like a typical guy (what's that, anyway?)...but like a stereotypical guy.  And in a lot of ways, she hit the nail on the head.

See, I'm the only girl with three brothers, which was basically like being raised with wolves.

1979ish
There were four of us in 5 years, and when we were little my dad was working on his Master's in Engineering, so he was gone a lot of evenings, leaving my mom to try and wrangle us.  Even when he was home, I'm not sure how much help he was.  My dad was a wonderful man and father, but he wasn't always on top of things. 

For example, to help my mom out, if he needed to run to the grocery store and pick up a few things, he'd take us along.  We've heard the story many times that the store actually assigned a stock boy to follow us through the aisles and repair the destruction left in our wake as my dad ambled through the store with a book in one hand and a shopping list in the other while we trailed along behind him dragging things from the shelves.

Two of my brothers once dueled in the back yard with a shovel and a hoe.  As I recall, the hoe-wielder won, and the shoveller ended up with a trip to the dr's office.  Come to think of it, the comparison to wolves might be a little insulting to their mothers.

Dinners were a free-for-all.  I can remember going out for pizza.  It would take forever to get there (I don't know how my parents stayed sane), and as soon as it was put on the table we'd have a race to see who could eat the most pizza.  You'd barely taste it, you were eating so fast.  I still think the root of my weight issues can be traced back to those times.
Family picture-Confirmation-1987 or 1988
1987ish
It didn't get any better when we were in high school.  The conversations at our dinner table were legendary among our friends.  Few topics (if any) were off limits, and shock value was at a premium.  My mom would gasp out the name of whoever the offender was and try to hide her smile with a mask of sincere chagrin, and my dad would put down his head and chuckle.

My mom's new dining room table was broken when one of my teenage brothers ran across it and leaped off it to get another (I wasn't there, and I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm misstating this).  Yes, the wolves were definitely better behaved.

Party planners extraordinaire
Missing a brother here, and that's my husband in the Cardinals shirt.

There's only so much we've grown up in the ensuing years.  We all have kids and responsible jobs, but we're still loud, sarcastic, obnoxious, and (I like to think) a lot of fun.  I came across a quote in a book I'm re-reading that reminded me so much of my family: "There is no occasion calling for sincerity that [our] family won't quickly diminish or pervert...We banter, quip, and insult our way through birthdays, holidays, weddings, illnesses."  People with thin skin don't last long.

Naturally, I had three boys.  The oldest two are just like my brothers.  The youngest...well, that's still pending.

My brother, my three boys, and I before the USO mud run
My husband grew up an only son with three sisters.  He doesn't stand a chance.

16 comments:

  1. I freaking loved this post Kate! Loved it! Made me laugh and smile big! Such a fun story! I laughed at the part about wolfing down the pizza and breaking the table. Ha ha! I only had 2 brothers but life was totally like that at our house. Once I threw a dog bone (a really sharp and hard one) at my brother's head full force. He ducked and the bone when right into my dad's framed art with really nice glass! Yikes. We did all kinds of crazy stuff and I knew that if I wanted pizza then I had to eat fast or it would be gone!!! Too funny about your dad in the store too! Ha! You seem like you have so much character. and I love the picture of you and your bros at the end! this is great. Such a fun family! Thanks for sharing. Great post!

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  2. I'd love to go out for pizza with your family ...they're a hoot! I totally get the whole non-sappy valentine's day thing. my husband and i agree that a kick butt bike ride would be way better than a romantic dinner, box of chocolates, or silly cards any day. Great post!

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  3. I learned some carpentry myself as a teenager, repairing Moms coffee table after a WWF brawl with my younger bro. We were smart enough to leave the older 2 alone as that really would have hurt. Thanx for bringing back some fond memories!

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  4. It sounds like you had a fantastic childhood!!! I always wanted to have 4 boys, but once I had a boy and a girl, I thought better of it :D

    I think I love your family!! FAMILY IS WHERE IT IS AT!!!

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  5. That post just make me laugh (along with that couch - I think I had the same one as a kid, and was given it when I moved out here after I graduated - yikes!). I had two WAY older brothers and no sisters. Always envious of those who had sisters as I wanted one more than life. Another life, I am pregnant and all I want is a daughter...you know how that is, I'm sure. Got my wish and had a blast - until about 7th grade. Just last night, she copped an attitude because her 15 year old brother got so much money dog sitting and how unfair that was cuz she doesn't make that much at her "real" job. I went to bed ... grateful that the younger two are boys. :)

    You guys look like such a close, and FUN, family! I bet you have the best times when you get together! My brothers and I were close at one time in my life but not as much now - but it's still fun to see them (occasionally :)).

    Thanks for sharing - these are the best posts :).

    Happy Weekend - yay!

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  6. Before of all I beg your pardon for my late congrats on your 15 km trail race.
    Beautiful and funny post about your life, I am the only son, no brothers no sisters, so I don't have a story like your: nothing to tell. The same my wife.
    Anyway nice pictures for good memories.

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  7. I only had one brother and that was wild enough. This post was hilarious. My favorite story of many from our young years was when my mother woke up from a nap and my brother was shoveling snow into the living room. She apparently shoveled it out as a car drove by, stopped, backed up and stared at her doing this.

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  8. This was great! You know I love your family!! The boys are definitely like your brothers (and their dad, even though he was an only child)! I have to say that our meals are certainly more "entertaining" when they are here!
    Kim

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  9. Your family looks great. I want to come for Thanksgiving. I'm a big baseball fan would would like your hubby too.

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  10. Thanks for all the great comments...families give us some of the best stories! Some of your comments made me think of more, but I'll spare you all. Everybody's invited for thanksgiving dinner...Tons of awesome food, games of family football, and cut-throat trivial pursuit.

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  11. Sounds like a hoot growing up and still fun getting together now.

    I can't wait for the "things I did to torture my brothers" post. :-)

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  12. Those photos from the past are just brilliant! What a great family you were and now you have your own great family. All so good. I'm the youngest of 4. We are 2 boys and 2 girls. My mom says we were always extremely well behaved. Of course I believe her!

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  13. Love the pics and learnng more about you - I had two older brothers so I can relate...

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  14. let me know how the ice bath turns out! So painful but so good for you!

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  15. Free-for-all dinners. Yeah, I remember those days. My sister was one girl with 4 brothers. She didn't stand a chance in hell.

    Great photos. I should dig up some old ones like that.

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  16. Came over from Weekend Spotlight. This was a great post. Very vivid, felt like I was eating at that table with all y'all.

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