The Kirsch family is all about order, protocol, and numbers. My dad’s parents have three sons and ten grandchildren. Because the sons and daughters-in-law don’t typically get along (something that they still, after years of drama, find ways to rhetorically gloss over), most family celebrations are separate. As a result, the real thing that seems to make occasions special for my Kirsch grandparents is the protocol phone call.
Last Tuesday was my Bubby Zita’s 78th birthday. Before I could squeeze in my birthday greeting (minutes from being belated), my grandmother informed me, in her predictable nature, that I was the final of her ten grandchildren to call and wish her a happy birthday.
For some, this treatment would breed resentment. For me, however, I delight in their predictable, competitive nature. I’ve stopped caring what order I call in, because either way, I know they’ll use it (the fact that they heard from all of their grandkids) to brag to their friends, and I’ll go on, guilt-free, until their anniversary in February, or my grandfather’s birthday in March.