I'm the oldest of three kids: me, then a brother and sister. OTRsis, seen frequently in the comments is, in fact, my fabulous, gorgeous younger sis. Wave to the crowd, carisima! She is another graphic designer (she got into it before I did, lest you think she followed me). She has two young kids and a wonderful husband who is a high school teacher.
My brother is a professional disc golfer by day and bartender by night. He doesn't sit still long enough to read a blog...
Our parents chose to be downwardly mobile and raise us in Cincinnati's #1 poverty community. Mom chose not to work and stay home with us while Dad operated a VERY non-profit housing firm. We survived 6 months on food stamps and years of donated clothing and cars.
Mom died 10 years ago. She'd been the director of drama, and first female professor at a conservative midwestern college before marrying my Dad. She fulfilled her drama urge through numerous performances for our church and for retreats. I grew up being on stage, in gospel choirs, marching in protests, eating carob chip cookies and bean sprouts--all because of my Mom. She was also someone who worried all the time, carried lots of bitterness and was usually frustrated by our family dynamic (lest you think she was a saint. I mean, she is one now, depending on your theology, but she was a very human, complex woman when I knew her).
Dad is still in Cincinnati. Dad is 72 and has been writing plays for years. He's recently decided to try for a second income in a theater related job. His goal is to become a stage manager so he's now training as an assistant production manager for a theater company. Our house in the inner-city has become a communal space which he currently shares with a married couple. He's had various ex-cons and assorted misfits in the house; I never know who is going to answer the phone. My father is "anonymous" in the comments. Not because he is afraid of being noticed, no it's cause he's the classic absent-minded professor type and can't recall his log in info. Take a bow, impressario.
Those who know me would recognize me as an oldest. The scary thing is to think, I could have been even MORE bossy than I already am. Mom was the oldest of 10 kids so she knew the pain of being the little extra parent. She didn't let me take on that role. Anytime I started to boss my brother and sister she would say, "OTRgirl, stop. That's my job, not yours." I was always hurt by that since I was 'just trying to help'--but now I am grateful for her wisdom. She also never made me babysit them. Instead, when I was old enough to know how to handle an emergency, they would leave us with these instructions, "We're going out for three hours. When we return, if the house is in order and you have nothing to tell us, we'll split the babysitting money between the three of you." As a result, OTRbro and I would get into two-round knock-down, drag him over the back of the couch in a headlock, split my lip fights. Then clean the house together. Talk about training in conflict resolution!
What truly makes us weird: we grew up without a television. My father maintained that he was an addict and couldn't have it in the house. The main impact of this has been that I can't participate in conversations that are about a television show. Which has maybe impacted 2-5 percent of my conversation time. On the positive side, it meant our parents had to be very creative with how to occupy three hyperactive children. We built indoor forts, created puppet shows (and some puppets), played dress-up for hours, fought (see above), read books, played cards, went to church events, talked, drove each other crazy, giggled, explored the neighborhood and spent every summer day at the public pool down the street.
We weren't, and aren't, a perfect family, but we can talk about anything that's bugging us and usually find something to laugh about in the midst of our pain.
See, it's the stuff you probably know already if you've read here or known me long. I love telling the stories, but it's almost rote with new people. Of course, if I did this as a card, it would be more visual and far less wordy...