As I’ve said before, I have a really small family. There are four of us in the immediate family. My mom is an only child, so there are no aunts, uncles or cousins, only greats and cousins removed. My dad is one of four children, but I only have four cousins (tons of 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th…though). Three boys and one girl.

Our family has always been the one that is separated from the group. My dad’s family all lives in New Hampshire and my mom’s family is all in fairly the same part of Germany. We miss out on a lot of family holidays (especially with my dad’s side) and things like that since we are so far away from the group. Sometimes it makes me a little sad, but for the most part I’m ok with it.

Part of the reason I don’t feel so sad about not spending a lot of time with my dad’s side of the family is because we are so different. Our little foursome has lived in Europe and in different parts of the US, while most of them have never lived outside the state. They are happy in their small mountain towns and don’t worry too much about never having lived somewhere different. That is not the case with my family. My parents both grew up in smaller towns, but had the dreams and drives to get out. My sister (S) and I have these same desires to spread our wings and fly. Even though right now I’m happy living in Atlanta and wouldn’t leave. But maybe one day…

When we do get together with the NH family, we feel like outsiders since we really have nothing in common with anybody. Neither of my two older cousins (girl – 25, boy – 35) went to college, which just blows my mind. The boy cuz dropped out of high school with two weeks left in his senior year because the teachers picked on him (maybe if you didn’t act out, they would have left you alone). He finally got his GED in his late 20s and started college. He was on track to graduate in 2005 or 2006, but never finished. He only had a few classes left, but said his aid ran out and he couldn’t afford it. Who knows if this is true. He’s almost 36 and still has to live with people to pay rent, watches cartoons, and acts like an 18 year old. It makes me sad. I try to talk to him when he’s around, but I just can’t relate. In my 25 years, I’ve done so much more than he probably ever will or want to do.

My girl cuz finished high school but never even attempted college, said it wasn’t for her. She’s bounced around between being a daycare worker, a bank teller, a dentist’s assistant and God knows what else. I love the girl, but seriously. How is she ever going to get anywhere without a degree? And the guys she’s dated – don’t even get me started. Some of them are real winners – multiple kids with different woman, served time in jail, redneck and uneducated people. It makes me sad that my only girl cousin is so different from me.

It’s so weird when we go up to visit them because S and I both stick out so much. We’re both always well-dressed and put together looking. But that is not the case for a lot of the people in that area. The women pride themselves on being able to get ready in five minutes, not wearing make up or doing their hair – this blows my mind. I know sometimes I don’t feel like primping and will look less than stellar, but every single day? Hell no.   I feel like we get judged by people because we are not from the area.

I will see a large amount of my dad’s family this weekend for my sister’s graduation from college. I am excited to see them since it’s been about two years since we were all together. And more of them will come down for the wedding, which makes me happy as well. But at the same time I am not excited about the awkwardness that I sometimes feel when the outsiders reconnect with the rest of the family.

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