This past June, I traveled to North Dakota with my siblings. Now that we are middle age orphans, we felt the need to embark on a tour of remembrance to the prairie towns where our parents were born and raised. We visited the old farmsteads, a few people of our parents age that are still around and, of course, the cemeteries where we found grandparents, aunts, uncles, distant relatives and acquaintances. We talked, we laughed, we had moments of silence, but most importantly we forged stronger bonds in our relationship with each other.
All four of us have very strong personalities. Our spouses doubted we could survive this trip in harmony. We not only survived, we thrived. We found our personalities continue to have much in common. What drove one of us nuts, drove all of of nuts. What made one laugh, made all of us laugh. My husband started calling our road trip the kumbaya tour and wished we would all return to normal.
While traveling, my sister recorded a list of traits we share in common. Mind you, I am not proud of all of these traits, but they are acknowledged similarities due to our DNA. We blame our father’s side of the family.
Our Shared Traits:
- Sometimes if we know something bothers or annoys you, we do it again. Weird quirk, I know, but we get endless entertainment from this.
- If you set a timeline, you better follow through with it. In other words, when you say dinner is at 6:00, expect us to be in our chair with fork raised at 6 on the dot. Whoa to you who is not feeding us on time.
- If you say we can’t do it, you will be proved wrong in short order. Saying we can’t do something is akin to a motivational speech for us.
- If you tell us to calm down I pity you. If we could calm down we would, but we can’t so stand back because you have just poured gasoline on our fire.
- Good luck to anyone who tries to control us. Many a brave man and woman have tried. Mom and dad had to rely on long lectures and the fly swatter.
- If you insult a family member, even if we agree with the statement, we will have to defend them. You have just waved a red flag in front of a bull.
- We will always share the details and facts about a tragedy or death. Our morbid side was nurtured hearing many a small town story about life, death and survival.
- We will ask you several times if you are having a good time or whether you like something. We have a strong need for affirmation and hearing how much you appreciate us.
- We love to all talk at the same time. This is very disconcerting to people who marry into our family and are actually used to polite conversation.
- We enjoy embellishing a story and tend to be repetitive, telling it over and over again. We know our stories improve with the retelling.
- We need to know the plan, especially where and when we will eat next. Our daily life revolves around our meals for the day, secondary to that is what we will actually do.
- We enjoy laughing at ourselves and retelling our most embarrassing stories.