My half brother carries the load now since he had a boy. And that's it for the family name. There were no boys on my mom's side of the family, or at least none I've met. One little boy to carry on the family name. This is not important to me as I don't have plans for a family myself but I can feel the brittleness when the paternal side, the name carrying side, of my family gets together for holidays. It's aging, decaying, and getting increasingly fragile year after year. I can see, or imagine I see, a sense of betrayal in my paternal grandmother's eyes when she looks at her progeny for she herself gave birth to four healthy boys. Ironically, she appears to blame the wives for the trouble and I thought that was no longer a problem in this age of science. I often am tempted to ask her if she understands how such things work but in the end it isn't important enough to me to pose the question.
All our family gatherings are quiet, awkward affairs so I find happier families to join for the holidays. I like Thanksgiving with friends and Christmas with the side of my halfbrother's family to which I am not related. They seem to like me too and always treat me like a full sister when I visit. Don't get me wrong, I do love my family but we are almost like character actors in a low budget made-for-tv movie when we get together. Long silences, strained small talk, heavy glances loaded with unnamed guilt...oh, it's quite comical when you think about it objectively.
Sometimes I feel so different from the rest of them that I think surely I must have been adopted and no one has told me. How common is that, I wonder? Surely other people in the world must feel that way. I've read novels describing the same thing but don't all novels contain at least a kernel of truth, a little grain of sand in an oyster? Have you ever felt like a stranger in your own family?