santa cruz wharf

07 April 2008


Each of us plays a role in our family.

It may be a work family, an adopted family, a blended family, a biological family or even a blog family.

Doesn’t matter…we each have a role.
Sometimes they change.
Most times they don’t.

I didn’t originally choose my role in my family. It was assigned to me by my Father, back in the day when I didn’t have a choice…I was a young child and the circumstances evolved as they often do. Mandated by necessity….dictated by birth order.

Most certainly as a teenager I reveled in my role. I took wholehearted advantage of it. I benefited from having the power and I loved having the influence (which most of you know is even better than power.)

As an adult….I have…at times decided to maintain my role. Not always…but more often than not…I have maintained my role. Not so much with the power and influence anymore…now it’s about responsibility. It is about being linear. It is about being strong. Providing options, exploring contingencies, encouraging decisions.

With full knowledge (or at least a significant portion of that knowledge) I acknowledge that I am still choosing this role. My choice. Me. All mine. Most of the time I don’t even have to be called upon…I just step into my role. (or take a blind flying leap onto the spiraling out-of-control merry-go-round)

Sometimes….like this morning…I am drafted into service
“What are you going to do?”

When I have to answer, “I don’t know yet” the response is immediate…. “why not? What are you waiting for?” (and in my mind I answer…well damn…first I am gonna walk through the door and get more data than I had ten minutes ago when I got the call)

That person who wants you to step up, (so they don’t have to) to take on the mantle of your role… then they want to tell you exactly how to play it out. I bit my tongue so as not to ask…. “well what are YOU gonna do?” Not the time to be crossing swords.

Late at night…by myself…very quietly…I complain at what it costs me. I wonder who I can pass some of the burden off to… my sister?… my step dad?… my uncle? Arrogant bitch that I am…none of the options seem viable.

So…again I choose my role. It’s the role I really want afterall. I wouldn’t be happy playing a different one. If I didn’t play this role…at the end of the day I would be compelled to take it back.

I best be callin' on my better angels...all of them....

(on the other hand, the next time someone asks me what role I REALLY want…I’m truly gonna tell them Pillsbury’s Orange Danish thankyouverymuch)


Sandee (Comedy +) said...

Well, it appears they know you will pick up the ball and run with it. Shame on them for dumping the situation on you and a bigger shame on them for telling you what to do. I love your ending. I wouldn't mind having one of those roles (rolls) either. Have a great day Katherine. :)

The Teamster said...

can i have raisins with that orange danish?......i can finish...what was it?....8 in two days?.....and I was sick....imagine how many danishes I can finish when I'm feeling good....


Jay said...

Families are complicated matters, aren't they?

Travis said...

As the oldest of two siblings, and the oldest of a generation of seven cousins, I completely understand that role. It's been years since I've exercised it though.

Mel said...

*sending a few of my better angels*

(just in case there's a need for reinforcements)

<----'responsible child'

Someone had to be the sane, rational, decision making, 'good in a crisis' one, eh?

((((((((( katherine ))))))))))

You and yours are in my prayers..LOTS.

Mimi Lenox said...

Call on those angels, Katherine....and send one my way please.

katherine. said...

sandee: it is a pattern that everyone is comfortable with. (love those organge danish)

Teamster: yours were Cinnimon rolls! And yes you ate eight. Feed a cetera

Jay: very. four generations of very

Travis: I am the oldest of my sibs....the third of thirteen grandchildren...however my daughter is the oldest of twelve great grands. And we are spread out ALL over the United States!

mel: much thanks...I'll need 'em
someone had to be is

Mimi: you got it on the way.

Matt-Man said...

First of all, whatever is going on, good luck with all of that, and secondly...

"I benefited from having the power and I loved having the influence (which most of you know is even better than power.)",

I too, have always felt that it is better to be the Kingmaker, rather than the King. Cheers Kat!!

Bond said...

Oldest son roll is not always as the oldest, but it is certainly as the one who was the guinea pig in my parents 'parenting skills lessons'

As Matt said, whatever is going on, I wish you luck and sanity...

8 Cinnamon rolls in two days? Damn I can do that in one - that is why I look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy

Linda said...

As others have said, whatever is going on, I hope that it ends well and as it should.

As for the orange danish - they're good but I'm much rather have a cheese danish with pineapple any day of the week! Now there's a roll I can really sink my teeth into!

Jeff B said...

It's said that by the time we are five years old, maybe at late as seven, we have typically conformed into the tpye of person we will be throughout life. Those begining years by and large define who we will be.

As a parent that sometimes scares the hell out of me; hoping I've set the kids up for success.

Obviously we/you make adjustments along the way, but embrace who you are (which it sounds like you already have) and everything will fall into place.

Roger said...

Middle child roll thats me. You rock Katherine!!

Marilyn said...

I'm the oldest but I never really did a very good job of being the authoritarian and I seem to have ducked out of it as an adult.

I'm still the overly-responsible easily-walked-all-over-one. It doesn't really seem fair that I can get all the blame of the leader and none of the fun. I'm glad my siblings and I lead seperate lives these days.

katherine. said...

I truly appreciate all of your warm words...really truly.

mateo: as you posted it would be impossible to be elected with certain skeletons...however I think I would make an excellent chief of staff!

Bond: I certainly had more rules than my sibs. (and he was really sick at the time...that's why it took two days....laughing)

linda: cheese danish with pineapple...that could work!

jeff: I feel the same way about the responsibility I have been given in parenting...and very grateful for the parenting I was given.

Thanks mids have your own issues!

marilyn: if you are getting the should be enjoying the fun!

Desert Songbird said...

Birth order roles are fascinating and yet can be burdensome. I find it difficult sometimes to have my sisters think of me as something other than the spoiled youngest child.

katherine. said...

DS: birthorder is an interesting study... I might be guilty of thinking of my much younger sister as spoiled....