When in precarious situations, never offer your last name until asked. Do not be surprised that the Asian kid with the Polish last name at your little brother’s wrestling match is indeed your cousin. Allot at least a half an hour of your time at every family event for family photo time. Don’t take it personally when you find your underwear hanging on a tree outside a tent during the family campout – just fight back. A thick skin and deep lungs are two requirements to surviving life with a big, loud, Irish family.
Expect to be related to at least one person at every school that you attend.
“Marissa, is that guy new?” I questioned while nodding towards a blond haired boy talking on his phone at the end of the sky bridge.
“Yeah, I think he’s a transfer. He’s playing baseball.”
“Hmmm…well, I think he’s my cousin. His picture is on my refrigerator.”
At family reunions, it is best to wear your name tag and pretend to know everyone. Be prepared to pop your personal bubble and kiss every relative who claims to have known you back when you were a “wee little thing.” Just drink water; do not bother searching for soda in the coolers of wine and beer.
If Grandma offers you relationship advice, just listen.
“Now, girls, if you’re dating a boy, you kiss him once and then break up. Once you kiss them, they just want more. Find a new one.”
Warn your significant other before introducing them to the family. Teach them how to play poker and don’t even thinking about marrying someone who can’t take a joke…or a prank. Make sure that they know to bring an extra pair of pants for initiation night. They will get wet and cold and publicly humiliated.
Learn to deal with Grandpa’s crankiness and never take offense when he wants to leave a party five minutes after arriving…or, five minutes into your wedding.
“Carol, can’t we leave yet?”
“Sshhh, Ralph, the reception just started, wait until they cut the cake, at least.”
Grandpa responded without pause, “Well, where the hell’s the cake?!”
Don’t fight it if Grandma wants all twenty grandchildren to go Christmas caroling to her neighbors. Get over it and sit on Santa’s lap…even if you’re twenty. Pretend you don’t know it’s great Uncle John.
Talk loud. Laugh louder. And, fight to be heard. If ignored, remember that almost everyone has hearing loss. Wear green and orange on St. Patrick’s Day. Don’t upset Grandma; she thinks that everyone is Catholic.
Cooperate and do the chicken dance…and, play it at your wedding.