Traits

I’m up much earlier than I normally am on a Saturday…and, while it’s quiet outside, I’m pretty sure the Rapture ain’t happenin’. For the most part, I’m not an early riser, and I’m not sure I ever will be. Just not a morning person. Strangely enough, it turns out that I’m not a night person, either! On most nights, you’ll find me in bed around 9:30. What was that? Oh, I’m 29…why do you ask?

Anyhoo, usually if I get the itch to awaken at, say, 6:10am on a Saturday, I start hustling all over the house doing laundry and dishes, calling my VERY early-rising mother, and doing a slew of other don’t-wake-the-husband chores. Today, I’m just “awake” with very little motivation. What’s got me awake? I’m thinking it’s my uncomfortable tummy. Which invariably gets me thinking about characteristics that I share with my family.

This year, I found out that I have acid reflux. Big whoop, I had it in college, but it had seemed to taper off and didn’t keep me up at night anymore. Did you know it can be stress-inducted? Well, there ya go. But, apparently, said acid reflux had secretly taken a summer home in the south and decided to make its home there, deteriorating my esophagus without my even noticing. After the very rare occasion of sitting down to a lovely meal with the hubs and suddenly finding myself bent over with a 10 out of 10 chest pain, I decided to look into it. (The pains were rare, not the lovely mealtimes.)

After an endoscopy, it was confirmed that not only do I have acid reflux, but I also have a hiatal hernia. Those are the ones that are pretty much right below the ribcage. The one that has bothered me for years without being painful enough to say “It hurts RIIIIIGHT here”. The one that made it impossible to get any breath support in “1940s Radio Hour” because I was wearing a belt there.

When I heard my diagnosis, I called my mother to let her know. “Oh, Grandma McCoy and Bill (my brother) have hiatal hernias.” In a strange way, it made me feel that I had something in common with them.

So, with my strange pains in full force this morning, I ponder some of the other traits that I share with family and loved ones…

My sister and I look alike. My brother, Ryan, and I have bad allergies and fought asthma as children (rarely as adults, but it’s pretty much dormant and can pop up unexpectedly). My brother, Bill, and I have an aptitude for unabashed crying at funerals and other, well, sad times; this may sound normal to you, but Mary and Ryan are generally the ones rolling their eyes while handing over tissues. On the same token, Ryan and I can be much moodier and more likely to get downright pissed off, whereas Mary and Bill are quieter and even-tempered. In some strange way, the four of us share different traits and not others; other families I’ve heard of 4 kids, all complete individuals who share nada, so I think it’s pretty cool. Obviously, we’re unique in our own ways and have very different life goals and even varying intelligences (street smart vs. practical vs. book smart, etc), but genetics plays an interesting role.

Oh, and in a strange way…I’m not sure if my sister agrees with this or not, but I find that her husband and I (and her best friend, Katie) are verrrrrry similar in many ways, generally personality-wise. On the flip side, I think that my husband’s quieter, more reserved qualities remind me of my sister. We’ve kinda married opposites. It works, though.

But, then, there’s the last generation. I agree that personality is something that can be genetically passed, mostly, while behavior is environmentally learned and sculpted. My personality comes from many areas, and some of the time is even reminiscent of my Aunt Nancy, whom I have only seen a handful of times in my life. However, as I grow older, I find a lot of my mother showing – for better or for worse. As far as most of my memory is concerned, she was our sole caretaker, with much help from her parents, so all of that influence is in me.

I don’t find it strange in the slightest that my favorite movies are classics, and I’d much rather read about history than any other topic. I have a profound respect for the past and my heart aches for the hardships that our predecessors endured. Most of my opinions on life are rooted in my grandparents; namely, my mother’s dad. 

So, what connects me so fiercely to the ’60s? (My friends here know that I’m not really of the 21st century, but might have been much happier in a different time – be it the ’60s, ’30s-40s, or the 1800s.) I wanted nothing more in the world to feel a connection to my father, who was a high schooler in the ’60s. But, then it took on a life of its own. There’s no way he was a Beatles fan, or, egads, a Monkees fan…or Mamas and the Papas or the Doors, and probably not Simon and Garfunkel. But, because I’d opened that door to the past and kept my own mind’s door open to it, the interests just flowed.

Enough rambling, it really is time to take after my mother and get “a load in the washer, a load in the dryer”. What about you? Do you share any interesting (or, heck, not even interesting — look at what I listed!) traits with any siblings or other family members? Or, cooler still, any connections with non-family folk?