Everybody thinks their family is perfectly normal. Why wouldn’t you, it’s what you grew up with?
It’s only when you’re all viewed through a fresh pair of eyes that you realise your nearest and dearest are about as everyday as the characters in a Spike Milligan sketch.
Daughter #1’s boyfriend joined us on a visit to my family last week, and if it wasn’t for the fact it was Easter Sunday and all the shops were closed, I’d have stopped off on the way home to buy the poor lad a medal.
I only realised this when the boss met my family for the first time 22 years ago, but she pointed out we speak in two volumes. Muttered asides, or raucous yelling you only hear after last-minute winners against Liverpool in the Stretford End. Silence or bedlam. There is no such thing as “indoor voices”.
And when you add in the fact it was mum’s birthday and my sister and I had bought her a tablet so she can use the Internet whenever she wants, you’ve got the perfect recipe for sitcom gold. Imagine The Royle Family meets The League Of Gentlemen.
Mum’s in her mid-70s and has previously shown as much interest in the Internet as The Stone Roses have at recording new songs. But since my switched-on sister realised mum could get a monthly broadband and calls package for less than what she was paying just for the phone, all of a sudden the old dear turned into Tim Berners-Lee.
Watching her unwrap a tablet was like giving the nuclear launch codes to that bright orange oaf who’s in charge of America. The only difference between their half-baked tweets is mum’s aren’t likely to start a war.
I know what you’re thinking, “Give it to the kids, they’ll show her how to use it in five minutes”. Fine in theory, but absolute chaos in practice. When it comes to technology, mum’s in pre-school while our 10-year-old nephew has just completed his groundbreaking thesis in Minecraft. When you get to her age it’s all you can do to work the Sky remote without accidentally putting a series link on Babestation.
But at the end of the day we’re just one big, happy family. It’s just a shame that it’s The Addams Family.