“How big is your family?”
It’s a pretty common question. Family is an easy subject to discuss when you’re meeting someone for the first time. Almost everyone has one in some form or another. It’s safe, light conversation making.
In my case, though, it’s not so light. It can certainly be entertaining to see people’s reactions as I try to explain the insanely convoluted nature of my immediate family. But, even with plenty of practice, it’s hard to quite do it justice.
The other day, I thought about making a written account. Upon beginning to write, I almost immediately decides that a visual presentation would be much more interesting and easy to follow.
So I cracked out the drawing tablet, and here it is, step by step! Certain family members might frown upon their names being thrown about on the internet in this manner, so almost every name here is changed. The exception is my own, including my surname. I use it all the time in attachment with this blog anyway.
Say hello to Alan Mulligan. He American – from New Jersey, specifically. He moved to the UK about 30 years ago and hasn’t been back since, but he’s still got a strong American accent!
Say hello to Anna Young. She’s English. She lives in Kent, and that’s where she met Alan!
Alan and Anna got married! Let’s go ahead and change that surname…
It looks like Alan’s surname has changed instead of Anna’s. Why? Because reasons!
The family has expanded to five! Now I’m on the scene, and I have a father, a mother and two older sisters. Nice and simple.
I believe I was around two or three years old when this happened. I don’t have a single memory or my mum and dad when they were married. To be fair, I don’t have a lot of childhood memories at all.
Next, both Alan and Anna remarry. Makes sense. Since we’re keeping track, Melanie and Christopher are both English. I now have a father, a mother, a stepfather, a stepmother and two sister.
All of a sudden, we have a big family expansion! This is what happens when you have two sets of parents. I now have a father, a mother, a stepfather, a stepmother, two sisters, one half-brother and four half-sisters.
We now have three divorces, total, in the immediate family. What happens happens. At least we can all move on.
Speaking of moving on…!
Adam and Anna are now both on their third marriage. Well, you know what they say about the third time, right?
Things just got a lot more nationally diverse, too. Paul is Irish, and Sue is Malaysian. Sue already has two sons: Jack is full-Malaysian (but raised in the States) and Michael is half-Korean (and born in the States).
I now have a father, a mother, an ex-stepfather, and ex-stepmother, a stepfather, a stepmother, two sisters, a half-brother, four half-sisters and two stepbrothers.
… I’m not a hundred percent sure of the specifics on Sue’s side, prior to her marriage to Alan. Well, maybe it’s best not to ask, lest I make this family tree…
Now, we have another two half-brothers added to the mix. Leaving aside technicalities, that leaves me with five brothers and six sisters. So six boys, six girls. Nice and even!
… is what I would have said up until very recently.
Ruben was born in December last year. I am twenty-three years old. When he is my age, I will be FORTY-SIX.
Putting aside that scary thought… yup, that’s my immediate family! End result (read: current result): a father, a mother, an ex-stepfather, and ex-stepmother, a stepfather, a stepmother, two sisters, four half-brothers, four half-sisters and two stepbrothers.
Well, at least they’re not all in the same place. Let’s see, I can split it up into… seven households, since us oldest three are all living independently now. None of the us kids have married… yet. Bella’s wedding is coming up in June, though!
… is half-brother-in-law a thing?