What if your family wasn’t the people you’d been competing with, worrying about, defending yourself against, owing shit to and only sometimes succeeding in communicating with for all these years?
What if, instead, your family was just a bunch of people who shared your blood and thus your chemistry and just enough of those visceral early sights and smells and words and strange facts in common. A black magnifying glass, egg nog cut with milk, the steam engine at Greenfield Village and a rowboat called the S.S. Stupid.
I can tell you how that would be, because as a result of a kind of socio-psychological catastrophe 30 years ago, I haven’t spent any time with an aunt and two of my cousins until we recently reunited for an intense weekend of question stammering, date-calculating and oh-my-God-I-remember-that-ing.
More candid and less defensive.
More rightfully considerate of people who have different DNA and different scars and different epiphanies and thus outlooks and behaviors that are different.
More humble: Among these people I was only (and really didn't want to be anything more than) a boy who grew up.
More baldly appreciative: Wow, that was FUNNY!
Not that I’ll spend less time with the rest of my family, after spending a weekend with these folks.
But I’ll try to treat the rest of my family in the generous way that this part of my family treated me, and that I expect I'll always treat them.