Nine of my most eccentric relatives are enthusiastically trekking to Durham for my graduation. When I heard this, I nearly had a panic attack. I’m dreading graduation enough already because, well, I’m graduating. Take that coupled with the stress, embarrassment and drama that inevitably develop when I spend too much time with my family? Oh god, oh no, oh f—ck. Someone please get me a Xanax.
You see, I’ve always felt that my family was a bit different. At least to me, they’ve always been louder, quirkier, and kookier than most people. This especially bothered me when I was a younger. Back in the day, I was a pretty weird kid with an ugly haircut, an unfortunate fashion sense and not many friends. I always felt like the odd one out. As such, I spent way too much time yearning for my homogenous classmates’ acceptance and approval. This just about always backfired, especially when my family got involved.
While my classmates’ mothers wore khakis and sweater sets, my mother was infamous for her crop tops and leather. While they whipped up tasty sweets for PTA bake sales, she organized a petition against the trans fats in the cafeteria food. While they packed lunches of turkey sandwiches and Doritos, she sent me to school with tuna tartare and tempeh. While they braided their daughters’ long hair, she chopped mine off because I hated brushing it. While they encouraged their daughters to try out for the cheerleading team, she forbade me from any activity that objectified women.
As you can imagine, my youth was chock full of family-related embarrassing moments. In fourth grade, my dad chaperoned my class’s field trip to the science museum and spent at least 20 minutes bragging to my peers about how good I was at catching and gutting fish. This earned me my most cherished nickname “Icky Sawicki.” I vividly recall grandparents’ day in sixth grade, when my grandmother told my math teacher to “remove the large pole from [his] derriere” after he scolded two students for spelling “boobies” on their calculators. In seventh grade, my mother stormed the cafeteria during my lunchtime and violently dragged me to her car at lightning speed. Moments before, she was listening to the radio and heard news of a bomb threat in all schools—what she didn’t hear was that this bomb threat referred to all schools in Washington D.C., and we were in Connecticut. The teacher on lunch duty called the police to report that I had been kidnapped, straight from my lunch table, by a crazy blonde woman in leather pants.
I coped with this craziness the same way any angsty kid would—I rebelled, albeit bizarrely. Since my family consisted mainly of boisterous, liberal, rule-breakers, I decided to become a prude, goody two-shoes, rule-follower. When my mother insisted on teaching me to drive at age 10, I threw a tantrum and emphasized my fear of the police. I even threatened to call them. When my dad pulled me out of class on a beautiful spring day to go fishing, I b--ched about not wanting to fall behind on my schoolwork. When my parents suggested a family vacation to the Costa Rican rainforest, I instead suggested Disney World for its modern infrastructure and lack of poisonous snakes.
However, by the time I reached high school, I realized that nobody wanted to hang out with the prude, goody two-shoes, rule-follower. Because, let’s face it, she really wasn’t any fun. Why rebel against my family when they were interesting, hilarious, packed me lunches of tasty tuna tartare and taught me to drive at age 10? When other kids spent their spring breaks visiting grandma in Ohio, I was zip lining in Costa Rica, so why complain? I was such an idiot for not realizing how cool my childhood was. I was so concerned with conforming to the status quo and fitting in with my (very boring) classmates that I neglected to fully appreciate how awesome my family is. The more friends I made in high school, the more I learned that everyone complains about and is embarrassed by their family so it’s no use fussing over.
I’ll admit that I’m still a bit worried about unleashing nine of my brethren on campus (if anyone has any extra Xanax, well, I won’t say no), but that doesn’t mean I won’t be grateful, filled with love and thrilled to see them all. I certainly won’t put on my goody two shoes in protest, though, because then I might miss out on all the fun. I’d also like to apologize in advance for any Sawicki-related shenanigans. You’ve been warned.
Chelsea Sawicki is a Trinity senior. Her column is part of the weekly Socialites feature and runs every other Wednesday. Send Chelsea a message on Twitter @ChelsTweetzz.