It was our second day back in Melbourne today, and it is Chris’s tradition to have his second night’s dinner at his dad’s sister’s and husband’s house. Several of his cousins also came, and we sat around their dining table for most of the evening, bantering (and yelling) away over Australian pizza (tandoori chicken on pizza!), mango apple juice, and Jacob’s Creek red wine.

As I get older, I am starting to realize more of my own inner dysfunctional side, like the fact that when I am around families that seem very put together, functional, and happy, I’m not completely sure I belong in that moment, or even in that picture, at all. Sometimes, as everyone is raising their voice over each other to be heard and laughing hysterically, I find myself sitting there, thinking, is this actually real, and what place does someone like me really have at this table? Am I not fully enjoying this because I really cannot fathom what a happy family is? Maybe I secretly want no part in it because I am somewhat of a masochist and I have conditioned myself to almost enjoy the constant battles and hostility of my own family and expect some elements of it to exist in other families with whom I meet and interact.

If Ed were at that table, he probably would have drifted off into oblivion. And mentally, I may have joined him.

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