Monday, November 21, 2005

The Fighting Barkers

What is it about being with your family (brothers, sister, mother…) that slaps you right back into your old ways that you thought you had out grown and learned to overcome? Maybe there is something about my body language that says, " I am pretty low-key, but I will fight if pushed." Maybe it is a combination of personalities that when they come together sparks fly. Sparks are not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes those sparks are just us having a good time. When the Barkers all get together, there is always lots of laughing and joking – sometimes at someone’s expense. Maybe we all have grown somewhat, because I can see each one of us holding back a smart remark or argument that would send us into the ring for round or two. My grandpa use to say, "Wanna scrap?" We kids were always up for a good scrap. The other day, Mom said, "I just want to fight." Hmm, I wonder whom she wants to fight with?

The Social Services lady came by Mom’s to see if we needed anything and talk to us about getting ready for death. She was a quiet, mousy young lady with weird hair (I think we could have fixed that for her). Probably the name "Social Services" just makes me want to fight. I wanted to be reserved with her, but Mom and Kathy started spilling stories of our family to this stranger. Before I knew it, we were fighting right there in front of her. Actually, it was very funny – it was just family fun – picking on each other. Mom said all of her children looked alike, but the truth is that Kathy and I do not look much alike at all. You could see the SS lady looking at us like "yeah sure". So, Kathy said that she actually looked more like the boys (where does that leave me?) So, I jumped in, and said that I looked more like the boys and that Kathy did not look like any of us. Kathy's lip came out, her jaw jutted forward, and I could see the fight coming. Mom stepped in and said, "Lou is just messing with you. Don’t get all huffy." It made me laugh. When will I out-grow that mean streak?

There has been several times in the last few days with my family, that I have wanted to correct Mom. She will say something that is somewhat wrong, and I want to correct her. She told someone that Adam (her grandson) is "a big broad-shouldered young man". He is actually about 5’9" and weighs about 145 – not very big in my book. I found myself saying, "He is not that big." Then I immediately thought, "What am I saying? Who cares how big Adam is?" I can see the fight in Mom’s eyes, so I back down.

Then my big brother from Austin showed up with his liberal views and opinions and debater style arguments. He seems to think that everyone must be a liberal like him because his conversation constantly puts down anything conservative (Bush, the military…) I have to bite my tongue knowing that an argument with Craig is fruitless. Then a friend of Dad’s showed up and gave us his religious views. I really like this man, but he was way off on religion. I bit my tongue again.

I love being with my family, but I think Dad’s cancer is making us all tired. It was good to come home and rest my bitten tongue and brain. My family probably all sighed with relief too. Be in prayer for all of us.

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