More Than Mediocre

Robin - Roca, Nebraska
Entered on January 18, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family

More Than Mediocre

I grew up in a small town in Nebraska; the oldest of four. Nothing exciting or extraordinary ever happened.

My dad was in construction and my mom was a nurse. My siblings and I attended the one and only school, played in all the sports, got minor rolls in the school plays and sang in the choir. We weren’t the best or the worst at any of them.

We took family vacations every summer, going to “Worlds of Fun”, “Six Flags”, or visiting my mothers’ extended family in Illinois; including aunts, great aunts, cousins, and second cousins. We always greet with giant bear hugs and smiles, and there is always plenty of food, laughter and good conversation. Every one is always welcome and there’s no need to knock on the door. We were all just a mediocre family, or at least that is what I thought at the time.

I am 40 years old now with a family of my own. My sister is the closest family member at 60 miles away, but that doesn’t matter. We’re closer now than ever before. Not a day goes by that I don’t talk to her and mom on the phone. My brothers and I speak at least twice a week, and I know that I am only a phone call away from grandmother’s recipes, my aunts’ gossip or cousins’ financial advice. I plan vacations and outings with family members; from single day visits to the zoo to extravagant week long cruises. And, when I am not making plans or speaking with them on the phone, I find that they are still on my mind and in my heart.

I remember taking my husband, (boyfriend at the time), to meet my extended family, my portly great-aunt Deloris stood up and gave him a tight squeeze welcoming him. He stood shocked, eyes wide open and arms straight down at his sides. He later told me that the people in his family didn’t hug each other. I remember thinking how sad that was, because I can’t remember a time when I was not, (sometimes begrudgingly), hugged, kissed, squeezed, smothered, pinched, poked and even “goosed” by family members as a physical expression of their love.

Once at work, I was expressing my joy and excitement on an upcoming family gathering. I then realized, not everyone loved their family as I do. One coworker actually shivered in disgust at the idea of spending time with her family. How could this be?

Who are we, really, without the love and support of those around us; whether it is friend, family or neighbor? For who else is going to accept our short comings, forgive our wrong doings, and take pride in our less than average performances? They share our joy and hold us up when we are unable to stand alone. They define us just by the very nature of the relationship. I believe they make us more than mediocre.

They make us extraordinary.