My sister is amazing with people, confident and outgoing and extraordinarily empathetic. And me? Well, I was the best at logistics. I always had two sets of lunch money in case my sister forgot hers (which was often useful), and contingency plans for every situation. As we grew up and left home the relationship dynamic stayed the same. Then, last year, we had a family crisis, and I realized that the dynamic had shifted, and I needed to shift as well.
This is Offbeat Home's archive of People posts.
"Homeowner", "renter" or "squatter" – whatever the label, these occupants take the Offbeat wherever they go.
My husband and I got married not too long ago. It so happens that one of our long-time friends, also from our home town, found a part time job in the city I work in, and we've decided to share a flat. Offbeat Homies my questions are many…
At first glance, my house doesn't look particularly offbeat. Look a little closer, though, and you'll notice the comical number of computers hiding here and there. Seven or eight bikes in the garage, corralled by a bike rack made of two-by-fours. Five cars that come and go. The duplicate cookbooks and kitchen utensils, the camping equipment lining the walls in the garage. And, of course, the five bedrooms that are definitely occupied by six adults.
In shopping for the new place, I remember what I left behind at my ex's: the pretty swing-top jars and canisters with colourful, perfectly co-ordinated labels, on which I used my best handwriting to label the coffee, macaroni, etc. They sat on the pantry shelf, a Pinterest pin waiting to happen. I was meticulous — borderline obsessed — with putting every package of food that came into our home into a pretty jar with a nice label.
Every adult family relationship dynamic is different. For me, our difficulty is that my older brother, who I am very close to, will not talk to our dad. My brother knows I will not cut contact with our dad, even though he feels I should. He has respect for my desire for a relationship with my dad. Still, being trapped in the middle is difficult. Here's how navigate this tricky "family member in the middle" situation…
Here's the deal. Racism isn't just guys in white robes and Paula Deen shouting racial slurs. Racism is subtle, racism is insidious, and our culture is so deeply steeped in it that it's impossible to grow up in the US and not be racist. And the sooner we both acknowledge this, the sooner we can begin to address the problem. So let's talk…
At 96, my Grandma Clara Yeager was pissed. Dad and his siblings sent her to live at Woodbridge Nursing Home. We visited her once a week while Grandma groused at Dad for putting her there in the first place. One day, a nurse took Dad out of the room for a private chat. My sister wasn't there that day, and Grandma took the occasion to make a request — bring her some cherry cordials. Grandma rarely talked to me, much less made a direct request so I didn't ask why — my dad returned to the room and it was clear this was secret. Do I help Grandma? Or do I follow the rules and refuse to buy Grandma her cherries?
You never realize just how thoroughly your world can be turned on its head, how easy it is to find yourself willfully trapped in a position that you swore you would never get taken in by. I never realized it. This is the sort of thing you expect to see on Lifetime original movies, not in real life. Not in your life.