Unfortunately my family suffered another loss this week as my Aunt Nancy bravely lost her battle with cancer. My Aunt was a dedicated reader of this little blog and I wrote one recently just for her after Billy died to keep her spirits up. She said she loved that it made her laugh and loved all the stories I had to tell. Today, this is dedicated to the loving memory of my Aunt Nancy, a true gentle wonderful soul who I hope knew how much I loved and respected her. Thank you for being my Aunt. Thank you for loving me unconditionally and most of all….thank you for laughing at me. I treasure the moments we spent together, especially last month when I had the pleasure of visiting. You always treated me like one of your own (although I am not sure that is a good thing). May you find peace and be reunited with Uncle Tom up in Heaven. We miss you.
Because Aunt Nancy loved the stories about our crazy family, I decided to divulge some family secrets or things I have come to love about my family. My family is a very loud obnoxious Iowa Irish one who tend to have a roaring good time when we get together. The following facts are what I have come to know as truths thanks to my family:
- If one of my family asks you what kind of pop you want, they are really asking you if you want your Mountain Dew regular or diet. There is no other option.
- My Uncle John had a bionic big toe. Seriously. He used to chase me with it and pinch me. Pretty sure this is where my hatred of feet comes from. You would hate them too if a huge hairy big toe was used to scare you as a child. I shudder even now to think of the Hobbit toe.
- Don’t play hide and seek with my Uncle J. He will find out that you are hiding in your toy chest and sit on it to not let you out. This is a dangerous game to play with him…he just laughs as you try to get out. Now I know where my claustrophobia comes from….thanks so much.
- My Grandma used to tell us to go get our own switch when we were bad. She would also say that it better not break over your butt when she beat you with it. If you bring her an entire tree branch, she will never ask you to do this again. I brought her an entire branch once and she was trying so hard not to laugh that she just sent me away. Also…pretty sure none of us ever got hit with those switches.
- Always test the softness of the snow banks. Do not trust that the snow is soft before you throw your child into it. My Dad made this mistake with me once and the snow was hard packed, knocking the wind out of me and making me cry once I got my air back. It also caused an asthma attack. He might have gotten beaten with the tree branch for that by Grandma.
- Sometimes you forget who your cousins are. No…really. I once saw my cousin I hadn’t seen in forever and didn’t hug him because I didn’t recognize him. I hugged everyone else but not him. Still haven’t lived that one down. In my defense, my Dad also didn’t recognize him just recently. Maybe it is just me and my Dad.
- I once partied with my Uncle John when I was underage….shhhhh. It was awesome. And he was impressed that he didn’t have to hold my hair back because I out drank him…..yup I can hold my own in this Irish family. We also had to try to sneak back into Grandma’s house without her knowing. He struck the funniest pose as he froze when he thought he heard her moving around upstairs. I almost peed myself laughing. I miss his sense of humor.
- Once the cousins and I got in trouble with Grandma for something I suggested we do that I knew was wrong. When she asked who came up with the idea, my cousins all ratted me out. Grandma stood there, hands on her hips, looking at us sternly and then said “Now really. Who came up with it because I know it wasn’t Kiki.” No matter what they said, she didn’t believe it was me. I just stood quietly and let the boys take the fall out….hey. I had already brought her a tree branch.
- My Uncle J once stabbed a mouse with his fork as we were eating dinner and then went back to eating without saying a word. Pretty sure it was with the same fork.
- The same furniture from the 70’s still lives in the front room of my Aunt B’s house that her and Grandma bought when they bought the house. Same EXACT furniture. It is yellow and orange and brown with some sort of fruit pattern on it….so 70’s. I am scared that it has yet to age and it is not covered in plastic. It might be a huge fire hazard. I am also scared that my cousins will bring that furniture to my house one day and move it in when I am not home. I have nightmares.
- When I was small, my family and my Dad used to let me take sips of beer. Once, nobody paid any attention to how much beer I had consumed until my Aunty T noticed that the 5-year-old was drunk. Let’s call it Irish liver training. I highly recommend it. It has allowed me to be the consumer of wine that I now am. Excuse me while I go get another box.
- My Aunty T is a great secret keeper. I only hope to be half the woman she is…just saying. Pretty sure I get some of my awesomeness from her.
- The boy cousins in my family will play Barbies without hesitating. No really. They will even go get the Barbie box at Grandmas and play with you. They will also take the blame for the hole in the drywall in the basement….just saying.
- My Uncle M will NEVER live down leaving Aunt P at the McDonalds. EVER.
- My family is a HUGE believer in hugs, kisses and saying I love you. Even the boys. Let’s never lose that. It is priceless.
As my family gathers again to say goodbye to someone, I know that more memories will come flooding back to you all. Remember the good ones. Aunt Nancy, I hope this brought some laughter to you up there…..thank you for being such a big supporter of me.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did however realize that family truths and secrets are a good way to laugh through the tears. I am fat girl who is grateful for my obnoxious family running. The experiment continues….