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Funny stories about family

There’s No Freeing Yourself From This Awkwardness

, , , , , | Related | September 7, 2021

My goddaughter’s mother was eager to go to a museum that was just opening up while she happened to be in town visiting me, so I went with her to the opening day ceremony. The museum was well put together, but since we were there on opening day, it took forever just to get in, and it was extremely crowded once we finally got in.

My goddaughter was a toddler at the time, and I’d strapped her into one of those wearable carriers to carry her when it was clear she was falling asleep. After a long nap, she finally woke up and started to get restless in the carrier. She was a very active child who didn’t want to be held when she could be exploring. Because of how crowded the area was, for a while, I tried my best to distract her to keep her in the carrier so she wouldn’t be underfoot, but eventually, she was too restless and had to be let out.  

Me: “Okay, okay, I give up. I’ll set you free.”

I worked her out of the carrier and set her on the ground.

Me: “There you go! You’re finally free!”

I lifted my arms as if celebrating, and my goddaughter did the same back at me before starting to toddle off. We had done this whole routine, including her lifting her arms to celebrate being set loose along with me, a few times before, so I didn’t think much of it until I looked up and noticed someone looking at me funny.

It was only then that I realized that I, a white man, had just made a big deal about setting my black goddaughter free at the opening day of the African American History Museum, in a section explicitly dedicated to the time period leading up to freeing of the slaves.

Let’s just say I have never been accused of having an excess of tact and my people skills are pretty much limited to persons with an age of twelve or lower. I tried to give the person giving me the odd look an apologetic smile and slunk off after my goddaughter.

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Sing Like Nobody’s Listening

, , , , , | Related | September 6, 2021

When I’m about thirteen years old, my mother takes me to a concert for one of my favorite singers. I love singing but am usually discouraged from doing it, but I’m so excited to be here that I let myself sing along to whatever is being sung, confident that no one can really hear me over the noise of the concert.

Halfway through, I catch my mother giving me a weird look and clearly trying not to laugh. I stop singing.

Me: “What?”

Mother: “Nothing. It’s nothing. Just— I love you.”

She told me later that evening that the singer had forgotten some of the words to her song, but I had been having too much of a good time to notice, and the people around us were watching me continue to sing without a care in the world, even when the singer fumbled!

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Designer Is Nice, If You’re A Potato

, , , | Related | September 6, 2021

I have a lot of sensory issues. One thing I can’t stand is the way a lot of fabrics feel slimy or prickly on my skin, so if I touch a fabric and it “feels” bad, there is no way I am wearing that piece of clothing. My mother thought I was being fussy or awkward for my entire childhood, and even since I moved out to live my own life, she still seems to hold this belief. She is also convinced I don’t know how to dress “professionally” since every time I am at her house, it’s a weekend.

Mum: “I have this lovely new top; I got it from a great designer. I think you’ll love it.”

Me: *Instantly wary* “Oh?”

Mum: *Brightly* “Yes, let me get it. You can try it on.”

I know I will be badgered relentlessly if I don’t.

Me: “Let me see it first.”

Mum runs off and brings back something to this day I will only describe as a potato sack. It is dull brown and coarsely woven, has NO shaping, and has these tiny little snippets of fabric that might be sleeves? They are at most an inch long on top, with no under to the arm at all, with a thick wedge of thread from attachment in the armpit. I touch it and confirm that it doesn’t just LOOK like a potato sack, it FEELS like a potato sack, too!

Me: “I am not putting this on.”

Mum: “But… it’s designer.”

I look at it, look at her, and look at it again.

Me: “No.”

Mum: “But it’s perfect! It’s a designer shirt.”

Me: “Absolutely not.”

She did eventually wear me down enough to make me try it on. It was even worse wearing it than it had been looking at. That was when I found out how thick and rough the thread used was. My mother kept insisting that it was designer! As if that made it magically stop chafing and itching so awfully.

For those fearing for my sanity and my mothers’, I soon after introduced a long-needed “no means no” policy, where I informed her that if she was going to keep badgering me after the first no, I would get up and leave. It only took enforcing once before she stopped trying to force me into such awful clothes. She had found that not only do I stick to that, but it means if she finds something I actually do like, I will say yes! It also means now if she asks me to try on a costume for her new home-run museum, I can actually say yes, knowing that if she pulls something I hate out, my “no” will be accepted.

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There Was Never Such A Devoted Sister

, , , , , | Related | September 5, 2021

My little sister was (and is) a sweet angel as a child who absolutely could not stand to see me unhappy. If she had something, I had to have it, as well.

Here’s a good example. We were at a carnival and someone gave us balloons. As we were walking along, mine suddenly popped. I was slightly bummed, but old enough not to start crying over it. My sister kept asking if I wanted hers, but I said that was okay. I noticed on her face that it suddenly looked like she wasn’t having fun anymore. A few moments later, she pulled her balloon down, pulled out a pencil from her little fanny pack, and popped it!

Then, on another occasion, we were on an outing, and my dad had become annoyed with my bratty behavior. He gave my sister an ice cream from a nearby stand but didn’t give me one as a punishment for my bad attitude. My sister kept asking him to give me one more chance, but he held firm. She took a few more licks of her ice cream bar and then looked like she’d suddenly lost her appetite and handed it back to him saying, “I don’t want it anymore.”

However, my fondest memory was when I carelessly stepped out into oncoming traffic. My mother yanked me back and rightfully scolded me.

Mom: “If you’re not careful, I’ll be telling people I have only one child here and the other child in Heaven!”

Sister: “No, you’ll have both kids in Heaven, because I’ll stand in front of the next car after him!”

She’s twenty-two years old as of this writing, and unsurprisingly, she is well known for her generosity and selflessness, making her primary goal in life about helping other people. I literally was too afraid to tell her I had lost my job due to the health crisis out of fear she might give me her own rent and food money!

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Could’ve Been A Much Worse Phone Call

, , , , , | Related | September 4, 2021

One of the few rules set in stone when we were young was: don’t drink and drive and don’t get in a car with a drunk driver. To enable us to stick to the rule, especially the latter part, my parents accepted the fact that they sometimes had to act as a taxi; we lived in a rural area with limited service by public transport and none whatsoever after 9:00 pm. This was a time before cell phones and when public phones were still plenty.

Two of my brothers had asked my parents one New Year’s Eve to collect them after the party. No curfew was given, and as my parents did not expect my brothers to call before early morning, they went to bed after welcoming the New Year. They were awoken in the early morning by fumbling at the door and my dad went to investigate. To his surprise, my brothers tumbled inside. When they made their next appearance, a few hours later and carefully nursing a hangover, my father got curious and inquired as to why they hadn’t called for him to come and pick them up.

Brother: *A bit sulky* “We did call! Why didn’t you pick up the phone?”

Dad: *Surprised* “But we never received a call. It was quiet all night until you tried to fit the key in the door.”

Those that were home that night confirmed that no phone call had disturbed the peace of the night. This went on a bit, to and fro, my brother insisting he called, my dad insisting that no call came through.

Dad: “So you called. Did you call the correct number?”

Brother: *Indignant* “Of course, I did.”

He recited the number while mimicking composing the number on a push dial.

Brother: “…five, six.” *Moving his finger downward*

Dad: “Wait. Can you do that again?”

My brother repeated himself with exaggerated movements, again going down from five to six.

Dad: “So you did five, six?”

He repeated the same downward motion.

Brother: “Yes!”

Dad: “That is not six you dialed but eight.”

Brother: “No way! But it rang!”

And yes, he did check the placement of the numbers on our extension. 

Dad: “Luckily, nobody was home. A nice night they would have with you calling them again and again, thinking you called home!”

We had a good laugh about it and my brothers had a nice walk home. It was about an hour in normal conditions, but the road they had to take was a dangerous one on foot (no sidewalk) and at night. Still, they arrived in one piece and probably walked off some of the alcohol, and we have one more tale to tell.

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