Sometimes I think my family is so weird because we do...(insert alien-like behavior that absolutely no other family does). We've all had this thought before whether we realize it not. This is OK though because every family has their own quirky, strange, this-is-why-we-can't-invite-people-over kind of behavior.
Here is a list of 7 things every family can relate to:
1. Your own language
Like any language, a family's vernacular is constantly evolving. Made-up words and even normal words with redefined meanings are commonplace when communicating with those who share the same blood. Movie quotes become everyday speech, and it just keeps going from there.
Pay attention next time your kids have a conversation. You'll be surprised at how much of it you don't understand. It's all fun and games until your son says "pickle" at church and your entire family bursts out laughing for no apparent reason.
2. Games like "who can slide down the stairs the fastest in a sleeping bag"
Kids are creative geniuses when it comes to games and ways to keep themselves entertained. Every family has those go-to games they've invented over the years. You know, the kind with rules that has been carved into stone, yet somehow change every time the game is played. Though these games seem trivial, your kids will use them to resolve any and every dispute.
For example, my brothers and I used to play a game where we would roll a tennis ball across the floor and see who could get it to stop closest to the wall without touching it. Boring, right? Actually, it entertained us for hours. We used this game to determine everything from who had to do the dishes or who had to make ice cream for everyone after dinner.
3. DEFCON level 5
When mom is mad, things are different. Everyone, including dad, is on high alert. Certain things will or won't fly depending on the level of danger in further angering the mother hen.
Ever notice the strange parallel for how well kids behave once they realize mom's fury over how some bleach was mixed in with that load of dark wash? Uncanny isn't it? During these times no one complains, fights, or brings in a bad report card. You might even enjoy these occasions if it weren't for the volcano of anger waiting to erupt inside of you. This unwritten law doesn't have to be expressed verbally, it is a feeling felt by all throughout the land.
4. That one relative
Lion King said it best: "There's one in every family sire. Two in mine, actually. And they always manage to ruin special occasions," said Zazu when talking to Mufasa about his brother Scar. We all have that one relative who we absolutely can't stand. In some ways this is good because it unites your family whenever he or she comes to visit. Everyone knows the pain the other is experiencing as Uncle Carl begins his political rant at the dinner table. Or Aunt Suzy and her three Pomeranians that are supposedly house-trained, yikes.
It's almost like everyone in the family has forgotten about it...almost. You creatively repositioned the furniture to hide it and somehow life goes on. But you and your kids know what evil lurks underneath that coffee table, which you purchased for the sole purpose of covering this terrible abomination...the infamous cherry Koolaid spill of 2003. Impenetrable to all carpet cleaners it mocks you and still finds its way into your darkest nightmares. Whatever year it happened in, it is permanently engraved into both your family's history and carpet.
6. Who even started this and why do we keep doing it every year?
No family is complete without at least one tacky family tradition. I mean come on! Do we really need to eat spiced eggnog pancakes every Christmas morning just because grandma's family had them growing up? The kids are only able to stomach them down because of the delirious high they received from opening presents. Whose idea was it to mix eggnog with pancake batter anyways?
7. The shirt to rule all shirts
You had to wear the stained and tattered hand-me-downs while growing up. Now it's your kids turn to suffer, right? In reality, money is tight and why would you buy Johnny a new shirt when there are 13 others just sitting there in a tote filled with clothes from his older brother. He should be honored to wear such cloth relics. It's like having a living family photo album walking around.
I can't tell you how many times I heard my little brothers complain about the hand-me-downs they had to wear to school. They would beg my mom not to make them wear them, arguing how the '90s fashion I had so proudly rocked just didn't translate to the current millennium. I, for one, still think that jean shorts and neon windbreakers are going to be making a huge comeback.
The bottom line is that whatever crazy mannerisms your family has they're yours and no one else's. These things make your family unique, and you might just even miss them when they're gone.
Alex recently graduated with a degree in public relations and is now working as an intern helping to produce content for FamilyShare.com. Apart from writing, he enjoys sports, backpacking and spending time with his amazing family.