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Just a 'normal' family

From the Farm

January 16, 2009

Joey, Russell and I were having a great conversation the other day while I was driving home from town.

We started to discuss other people and why, exactly, are they the way they are.

Throughout the conversation we were trying to figure out what should be considered normal.

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Kerry Hoffman

I explained to Joey and Russell that people are the way they are because of their upbringing. Sure not all of it is related to genetics, but I believe it's a big part of personality development.

"Children will turn out to be very similar to their parents when it comes to personalities," I said. "If a parent is concerned about having more than the neighbors, often their child will have to try to be better than all of his or her friends."

That child will think it's normal to be like that.

(I wish I would have known this when I was a kid. That would have explained a lot as to why some kids were bullies to me and why some just wanted nothing to do with me. I thought it was because of who I was.)

I proceeded to tell Joey and Russell that you cannot blame the child for the way they are. Often, a parent doesn't even realize they are passing on those traits to a child.

How was I to know I would pass on all my silly personality to Joey and Russell?)

That's why we say, "An apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Russell was quiet for a bit and then he said, "I think we are a normal family."

"Do you?" I asked. "What's normal, anyway?"

"Well, like our family, we laugh together a lot, but yet we still get mad at each other. That's normal," he said.

I, for one, would like to consider my family normal. I am quite sure a stranger looking in from the outside, just might consider my family to be a bit "out there."

Joey is consistently tells me that his father and I are "weird"-especially when he sees us hugging and kissing on each other.

But, then again, he's 14 and everything his parents do is weird. It's like he's always on the outside looking in at this point in his life.

Anyway, after I asked Russell what he considered normal, a "goose flew over the top of the car and let out an accidental honk." (Do you get my drift? No, there really wasn't a goose, but, at our house, Canadian geese, or the dogs, get blamed for this noise quite often.)

"Well, that's really normal!" Joey said extremely sarcastically. (No, it wasn't Joey who saw the goose. That only leaves two and I am not telling who was playing the Canadian goose game.)

"Exactly!" said Russell. "We can "honk like geese" and laugh about it without getting embarrassed."

It was at this moment that I realized that I am doing a great job as a mother. And, yes, as much as I pick on Steve, he does a great job of being a father. (What a ridiculous moment to think this. Don't you think?)

Sure, I have passed on some of my silly and bad traits to my kids, but it keeps life interesting. Just the other day, Russell had enough guts to give the manager at Papa Murphy's a hard time about putting two too many olives on our Cowboy pizza.

Joey also has a killer sense of humor. Especially now that he's in driver's training and using his new knowledge to tell me all the things I am doing wrong while driving in the car. (I would share his jokes, but I am saving those for another story.)

(By the way, to the driver of the small vehicle that I just about crushed while retrieving my kid from driver's education class last week Thursday, "I'm sorry.")

But I also have the ability to totally get my kids angry at me. Sure, it breaks my heart, but I know it will be worth it in the end.

To me, that's normal.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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