Is That Weird

It’s recently come to my attention that I ask the question, “Is that weird?” a lot. 
I had no idea this question was an overstocked phrase on the shelf of my vocabulary. 
But it is. 
It seems that anytime I’m unsure of myself instead of saying, “I’m not sure about that” I say “Is that weird?”
This canned good of inquisition shows up most readily when it comes to relationships, which outside of what I’m doing right now which is sitting in my living room by myself, is a lot of how I spend my time in the world. 
I’ve been pondering how this phrase became such a consistent staple in the kitchen of my oratory repertoire and I’ve decided it got there when I was a kid…
A kid living in an alcoholic home. 
No news flash here. At least one in four people is touched by addiction and so please don’t go running out of this kitchen with your hair on fire. 
The reality is a lot of us grew up in alcoholic/addicted homes. 
Nothing, in a home like that, was certain. Sometimes when we got home from school our dads would be angels and sometimes they were raging like mad men. One morning our moms were cheerily up and ready to send us off to school and the next, they were still asleep mumbling something that made no sense and leaving us to figure out how to get to school on our own. 
We didn’t know what was normal and what wasn’t. 
And so a lot of my life has been trying to figure out whether something I’ve done was considered weird or not weird. 
As you can imagine this has prompted a lot of anxiety. Living every day wondering whether I was “normal” or not, can be burdensome. 
And yet…in recent reflection with my now-grown kids on how the three of us parented and childed together, I’ve come to see the beauty in not knowing what is “weird”. 
Hank loved to skateboard so we figured the family room, with its hard wooden floor, was as good a place as any to do it. 
Helen liked sleeping in a tent, so she did that for a few months in our living room. 
One Thanksgiving we had hot dogs (with toothpicks no less), velveeta cheese and chips because we thought it was hilarious. 
Starting a program for girls that would challenge the very fabric of how girls and women were perceived and perceive themselves, seemed possible and normal and frankly, like no big deal. (Me.)
Skipping college and going straight to the bliss you find training dogs and loving animals…this wasn’t weird..it was brilliant. (Helen)
Leaving high school early to go work for a platinum selling rapper…well I will admit…at the time that did seem weird, but to my son, it was absolutely normal, doable and not weird at all. 
I share this little ditty with you this morning because there’s something kind of beautiful and liberating about embracing the gifts of my dysfunctional upbringing…it’s like finally cleaning out the kitchen cabinets and finding this beautiful poem written by your mom, that you had, for reasons that escape you now, tucked in behind the spaghetti, canned goods and spices. 
Weird or not weird? Who knows?
(As a sidebar, my mom got sober in 1970, when I was in fourth grade. She became a force to be reckoned with that included among other amazing things, writing poetry. Her work was published and continues to bring joy to many.)

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