'You don't choose your family...

by tosca on Tuesday, May 11, 2010

...They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.'
~ Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu

But sometimes...sometimes you want to do the world a favour and mark their arse 'Return to sender.' And I'm pretty damn sure they want to do the same to me. And then there are the days when they impart words of great wisdom that will serve you well for life, young Grasshopper. It's Tuesday, which means this is a 'My family & other animals post' or 'Things my family say/do that just beg to be shared.' My parents aren't totally big on giving advice. They're of the opinion that life is to be lived and, so long as you don't purposely harm anyone, live it to the fullest. Having said that, there are two pieces of advice my mum and dad gave me and, if I live to be an old woman (considering I turn 35 on Monday 17th May that's just next week geez, 'old woman' status ain't that far away), I will remember them forever (much like you remember the first time you try to dye your hair black and instead it goes green - yes, I've done that).

My dad is very old school - his parents were of that era where children were raised to be seen and not heard and both of them were in the army and extremely busy people. My gran was a serial fiancee (my dad's siblings will cringe to read this but it's the truth). She was engaged a few times before she 'settled' with gramps LOL When she died she said she didn't want my gramps to be buried with her because she had him in this life so she sure as hell wasn't having him in the afterlife LOL She taught me to swear :) My gran was a character. It's not all that surprising then that dad is, too. Being a father to 8 girls scared the crap out of him half the time when we were growing up and I can say, hand on heart, he did a wonderful job with me :) I can't speak for my sisters, though. He only ever gave me one piece of advice (well, two wrapped up in one) that he said would see me through - although some days I do wonder what the hell he was thinking when he would (almost yearly) remind me of this, sheesh.

Fatherly advice:

  • All men are animals
  • Driving is psychological warfare
My mum's parents were unusual for their time (and for the fact that they were Maori). Gramps was in the army and then, when he and Gran married, he worked on the wharfs until the day he died. Literally. Gran was a book keeper and used to work for Whitcombe & Tombs before it became Whitcoulls. They were both quite widely read, quietly political, extremely urban with very strong ties to Hicks Bay (where Gran is from) and Waimanoni (where Gramps was from). These days Gran runs Pendennis Hostel for the Anglican Church and is a minister. Mum was heavily involved in Nga Tamatoa as a radical university student/legal aid before meeting dad (honestly, in his horrible hairy beard, shaggy haircut days with those awful flares and damn velour jerseys ugh) and having 8 children. These days mum is a respectable counsellor who works predominantly with Maori clients and has left the rat race of Auckland to live in the godforsaken wilds of the far North (who the hell knows why). Her advice wasn't imparted until I was in my late teens/early 20s. Not sure why she waited so long but it's stuck with me ever since.

Motherly advice:
  • I brought you into this world so should you screw up in a big way it is my job to take you out. Personally. Remember that.
Seriously, I've never forgotten what they said. Awesomesauce LOL Weirdly, there are no pics of my parents together. Or of my dad's parents and I struggle to remember if I've seen any of my mum's parents together, either. Oh no wait - my parents had one. Their wedding photo when I was 18. As my youngest sister likes to remind me, we were all bastards when we were born. My mother used to say that some of the biggest bastards she knew had parents who were married. Eep.

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