Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, February 26

Gapers Block

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Zach / May 28, 2009 9:38 AM

As good as one could ask for. My two brothers are my best friends, I talk to my parents every couple of days, and whatever issues we had when I was a teenager resolved themselves long ago. Not saying we don't have arguments every once in a while, but I've got to say, my family is tops.

annie / May 28, 2009 9:51 AM

It's um, well,, ugh. It could be better! My mom and two older brothers live within 1 mile of each other and the house we grew up in (on the grand old South Side), they are all close and I'm sorta the outsider. Family get-togethers are exhausting for me. They are nice and all, we just don't see eye to eye on much. I don't undertand their lives and they don't understand mine. Which reminds me, I have a birthday party with the entire family (tons of drunk Irish Republican cousins..yes, it's possible) tomorrow night out in the burbs on a golf course...give me strength.

LitteJill / May 28, 2009 10:17 AM

It's not good. Our parents' marriage was a cautionary tale. There were two "batches" of kids with a decade in between. The older ones didn't get along with each other and were all long gone by the time the younger two (including me) were school-age. My remaining sibling and I were totally different and never got close as we grew up. Then my mother passed away and most of us never spoke to each other again. The End.

holden / May 28, 2009 10:33 AM

i live with my younger brother, talk to my mom daily, and my older brother every couple days. they are all my best friends. post-divorce, my dad is pretty much relegated to a once a year visit and a phone call every few months, which is ok since he wasn't my biological dad anyways and we weren't ever that close.

David / May 28, 2009 2:34 PM

I'm a city mouse in a family of country mice.

My two younger sisters and my parents love hiking and skiing, I love reading and the MCA. They wear polar fleece and Crocs, I wear H&M and shoes from EBay. When my wife and I were planning our wedding, my folks felt "more comfortable" staying out near O'Hare than staying downtown. Yeah.

But we still get together and sit down and have little mice dinners every so often, and they're comfortingly similar in their patrician boring-ness.

anon / May 28, 2009 3:24 PM

My far southwest-side aunt, uncle and cousins think I live in an urban yuppie wonderland. In reality, I live in Edgewater. They're negative, unhappy people. Someone they know is always sick or dying and the whole world is going straight to hell. Life is something they endure. "The black" chased them out of their old neighborhoods and now they're in the farthest pocket of the city that municipal employees can live in. When they retire, they'll move to Florida and complain about the cesspool that is Chicago for recreation. They pity me for living in a "tiny apartment" because they have that yard they never use and a garage for their SUV. I see them infrequently, and every time I do, I get this insecure, "we're just as good as you are" treatment. It's sad. My Dad was very successful and left Chicago when he was the first in his family to go to college. I think they've resented him ever since. My uncle once referred to my dad as "Jesus" in front of me.

My relationship with my parents is great. Even my friends love my parents. They're also my friends. When I was in 6th grade, one of my friends told me, "they treat me like I'm a real person." It's surprising they're the way they are because their families (see above) are very dysfunctional. Luckily we never lived near either of the families ... until I moved here. There's something to be said for having some space between certain family members! When I moved here I was amazed at all the petty grudges and B.S. going on. They compete with each other over who's got the best house, the biggest plasma screen, the nicest boat. Ugh, life's to short.

anon / May 28, 2009 4:22 PM

I am dreading next month when my sister, bil and nephew move into the area. My sister is already making the 'you're single so you don't really have a life, you have to come out to the suburbs every weekend' noise at me. I really liked living 400 miles from any blood relative.

crystal clear / May 28, 2009 6:05 PM

Very close to my parents. Best friends with my mom. When I was growing up, I confided in both my parents, but now I talk to my mom more - well my father goes back and forth overseas a lot. I absolutely adore my mother - she's my confidante, my stress reliever, and has the best sense of humor ever. Of course, we get on each other's nerves too. With my older brother, we like each other enough, but I am not that close. Better friends than when we were growing up and fighting all the time.

My extended family - lots of issues among my dad's brothers. Seriously, we only see each other at funerals. My mother was never close to her own family because she lived with relatives ever since her own mother got remarried. So, although I saw my dad's side more growing up, I see a lot less of them now. I don't mind actually.

fluffy / May 28, 2009 8:00 PM

My parents are a mess and finally got divorced after 40 years. I get along with my guilt-inducing, passive-aggressive mom. I don't have any contact with my cheating, abusive father, who is in another country. I'm close to my 3 sisters and brother- I just wish we weren't all in different parts of the U.S. We're 5 kids, from 3 different countries but we have the same sense of humor which is kinda twisted. We were in a band for half our lives. And yes, Mr. M is part of the family- the only one with manners.

mary / May 29, 2009 8:59 AM

i talk to my mom every other day, my sister at least once a week, and my brothers? maybe once a month. i hate talking on the phone, and since my brothers aren't as into the internet as my sister and mom, i just dont keep in touch with them as frequently. they are also 2 hours behind time-zone wise which is also a hindrance. my sister lives in MN and my mom is in the burbs, so i also see them more often.

QuickSloth / May 29, 2009 10:49 AM

Let's see, father was a multitalented abuser who died when I was two. Mom made sure I was totally cut off from his side of the family and larded my brain with distortions about their character. Of course Mom was, probably is still, basically a high functioning nutter. I finally realized I was better off without contact. Her mother decided I didn't have the right to make this decision, even though I had a lifetime of evidence to back it up. So she cut off contact with me.

Fortunately, my wife's family is awesome! Whatsmore, three months ago I found out my father's mother left me about a quarter million dollars when she passed away.

The lessons? Family secrets and lies are usually for the benefit of the person doing the lying. And sometimes the best family is the one you get to choose.

Ahhh, Friday morning catharsis. I feel so much better.

Brubeck / May 29, 2009 11:34 AM

My father died 8 years ago from alcoholism. His last few years of life were sad and self-destructive, but I miss him anyway. My mother left Chicago in the mid-90s for the southeast with my brother and sister. My mother is a great parental figure, but someone I wouldn't want for a friend, because she's got a big mouth. My brother and sister are great, but the age gap makes the two of them closer to each other than they are to me.

My father's family is huge. I've never known them well. They're all nice, welcoming, accommodating people, but we're always in different phases of life. I just had my first baby, and their kids are entering college. My mother's relatives are concentrated in Memphis. Again, nice people, I just don't see them much, because of geography.

I see or speak to my two best friends at least once a week.
My two best friends have been constant presences in my life since we were 14. That's twenty years of friendship (we tore the fuck out of Rogers Park back in the day!). They are my brothers, my family, and I love them.

mike / May 30, 2009 3:19 PM

All I could ever ask for.

I'm glad to see these positive comments; I often fear that Americans lose touch with community and family too much...

zoenotcool / May 30, 2009 5:31 PM

I admire some qualities of my parents, but am resisting other tendencies that I share with them. I don't want to turn into either of them.
I'm coming to terms that my mom and I will never "get" each other. My mother is very clingy and never thinks she sees or talks to me enough. She has blended our identities in her mind in an unhealthy way, to the extent that she referred to MY wedding as "our wedding" recently. And I've been married almost 4 years. She also thinks we were best friends up until I left for college, but we were never best friends.

My dad can be a great man, but it's a long story.

My little brother is becoming more of a stranger to me all the time, and I'm not sure what to do about it. Maybe I'll just let the relationship be what it is.

Family life is stressful, and only sometimes emotionally satisfying.

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