I had an interesting conversation with my mom last night. In context of talking about some other people who see the world as they want it to be rather than as it is (and who, I’m quite sure, are and will continue to be happier because of it) I said, briefly, “You do a little of that too – and I think it works well for you.” She said “I know.” That did surprise me; I wasn’t sure how she’d react, though I tried to make it very clear I didn’t mean it as any kind of slur; she’s not really a very analytical person at all, so I was surprised she was conscious of it. But I really do think my parents’ 46-year marriage has been happier because of her rose-colored glasses.

It occurred to me, in thinking about it, that while my brother is more like Mom in that for both of them, building relationships with other people is the most important thing in life, I take more after Dad. The first half of that has been obvious to me for a long time (and my brother’s wife is the same way, which is probably why she and Mom get along so well), but I just figured out the last part, mostly because Dad’s health issues have damped down his personality for a long time. Several years ago, I took some leadership training that involved classifying people into working styles. There’s some information on the system here – it’s similar to but less comprehensive than Myers-Briggs because it’s only really meant to cover working behavior, but burrow down into your soul. Still, it strikes me as a useful quick first approximation for describing people. In that system, Mom is very clearly an Amiable. When I took the training I was classed as a Driving Expressive – that is, an Expressive but over toward the Driver side of that category. It just occurred to me that Dad was one too. He was always good in a crowd, genial and good at first meeting people, and worked in sales for a lot of his career. These days, he’s much more withdrawn, so I hadn’t thought about that perspective before.

I’m not exactly like Dad any more than my brother (or SIL) is exactly like Mom – for instance, I’m more adventurous than Dad, who apparently got that all out of his system by the end of his Air Force hitch, and my brother is much more technically competent than Mom. Still, it’s kind of interesting to see some basic likenesses.

Actually, though, the main spur for writing this is that I’ve been reading Ravelry forums and realizing all over again just how many people have horrible, malicious families. My mom may drive me nuts (and probably vice versa) when we spend too much time close together, but she never, ever, ever says anything hurtful. Also, she may not be fond of travel, but I’m pretty sure she’d be on a plane about a second later if I ever said, “Can you come here? I need you.”

I can say similar things about my entire birth family. Not only did I luck out in the birth lottery, but I married a man whose parents went in wanting to love any woman who made him happy; they are very easy-going and it might be possible for me to have a bad relationship with them, but I’d have to work very hard to do it. (My SIL on that side has managed it, unfortunately, but I hardly ever have to see her.) I’d much rather be lazy and loved! And I’ve been very happy to see my parents and my new SIL, my brother and his new in-laws, and my parents and their machetonim all building their own relationships with the same attitude.

The more time I spend online, the more people I see who weren’t so lucky, the more grateful I am for my family.