Posted in Family

The Romantic, The Analytic, The Amiable, and the Renegade

When my children were young, I often wondered, “Who will you be?”  I analysed their every interaction, their every choice, looking for a clue to the men and women they would someday become.  What a privilege it is to see where they have chosen to go.

Now it is easy to say, “Oh yes!  We always knew he or she would be this or that”  But we didn’t.  Not really.

I always wanted four children.  Perhaps it’s because I was alone so much of my childhood.  I had a dear friend with three siblings, and I loved how they fought one minute and laid down their lives for each other the next.  I had a half-sister with four children who relocated frequently with the Air Force.  They were very close, and so articulate when they spoke.  These were all things I wanted for my children and, as near as I could tell, the common denominator was the family of six, and so I had that number fixed in my brain.

What amazes me is how four children from the same two parents, growing up in the same environment, can all be so different!  There is the Romantic, the Analytic, the Amiable, and the Renegade.  From the moment each was born, I’ve been captivated by the paths they’ve sought, like streams taking turns and clearing obstacles as they roll downhill.  It’s true that they won’t necessarily make the choices you would want for them, but at some point they make their own, and their streams turn left or right, running turbulent or tranquil.

Just over a month ago we all met, with a couple significant others — Bubba and my *Sin-in-law — for a weekend in northern Wisconsin.

The Analytic conceived of the idea, collecting data on available weekends, required amenities, budget, and distance.  Having conceived a consensus, the Romantic, Analytic and I met over breakfast to plan meals, shopping and packing lists.  The Romantic, having developed a keen sense of nurturing, quickly volunteered to make the breakfasts.  It’s what she always does, she insisted.  The Analytic announced he planned to grill.  I took notes.

At the end of our planning session, I summarized.  “As far as I can tell, all we’ll be doing is cooking and eating.”  They assured me there would be time for other activities.

The Renegade and I at the wayside rest in Duluth, MN

Most of us arrived in three cars within twenty minutes of each other despite the three and a half hour drive with separate routes and errands.  While the Analytic spoke with the resort owners, the Amiable unloaded armfuls of liquor and beer into the cabin.

The Renegade and I were the next to show up.  She quickly checked out the set-up and suggested bedroom assignments.  I stretched my hips and took the dog out for some exercise. When the Romantic and Sin-in-law showed up, both canine and human greeted them excitedly.

Bubba would leave home hours later, after his work shift, on his brand new motorcycle, while I monitored my phone for emergency texts and hospital calls. There were none, of course.  He arrived with a big bug-infused smile and motorcycle intact.

That night we relaxed with sloppy joes the Romantic made in her slow cooker, and much adult beverage.  I might have had a very inappropriate giggle-fit when a fire poker grazed the Sin-in-law’s head during a game of baseball between the Amiable and the Renegade. Yeah, well, I did say it was inappropriate.  And I apologized as much as one can do during a giggle-fit.


The next day there was ladder golf, much dog-Frisbee (in which a Frisbee is thrown to the dog; the dog is not thrown as a Frisbee), and fishing.  Let me explain that fishing with the Analytic is not the same as lazily throwing a line into the water.  There is wind calculation, water depth measurement, fish-finding technology, and two different kinds of motors.  I am told the Analytic does not go fishing.  He goes catching.  If that is the case, we saw no evidence.  However, the four of us who joined him caught a glorious sunset while trying to counterbalance the boat against the Renegade’s restless antics.

After grilled pork chops and corn on the cob, and the best darn baked potatoes I have ever eaten, the Amiable started a bonfire.  I think I smelled lighter fluid right before a fireball lit up the yard, but he maintained it was my imagination.

For the record, Ghirardeli Chocolate and Caramel Squares are AMAZING in S’mores!

I think I sang a song or two around the fire.  The theme song for Mr. Ed comes to mind.  Yes, I had a beer or two.  No one allowed any type of baseball.

A moon arose that night; the most beautiful I have ever seen.  It was a full blood moon hanging over the twinkling lights of the town on the opposite shore.  The scene echoed in the rippling reflections of the bay.  I tried to impress upon these “kids” how in all my years (and I’ve lived a few) I have never seen such a beautiful moon, and how lucky we were to share it.

All too soon it was time to go home.  Before I awoke, the Analytic was already packed, toting the Amiable fast behind him.  The Romantic made another breakfast.  The Renegade pitched in.  The drive back was longer than the one there, except for the dog, who crashed in the back seat for nearly two hours.

It’s true about the best gifts in life being free.  Keep your money.  Give me more time with the ones I love, and more love for the time I’m given.

Peace . . . DSCN2361

*When my half-sister moved in with her now-husband before they married, my mother totally embraced the idea — in fact I think she suggested it long before they did it.  Except she didn’t know what to call him.  So she called him her sin-in-law.  Everyone got a kick out of it, and so I lovingly call my daughter’s live-in boyfriend my sin-in-law.  He is — after all — family, and deserves a title.


Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

8 thoughts on “The Romantic, The Analytic, The Amiable, and the Renegade

  1. “…I’ve been captivated by the paths they’ve sought, like streams taking turns and clearing obstacles as they roll downhill…” Nice, very nice. Keep ’em coming–you’re a natural!

  2. Jean,what a lovely family get-together and that last picture with all your children next to you the family resemblance is so very clear, no denying those are your children. 🙂 You can also see their distinct personalities in that final photograph.

    I too wondered often what my boys would grow up to be like. Their personalities flip flopped about the time they turned ten and the timid one was now the rebel, the risk taker now avoiding all risks. The only real clue I ever had to their adult personalities was in the type of career they would have. My youngest was just shy of 3 when a neighbor remarked at how he always made contact both physical (such as a hand on the shoulder) and eye contact with any one he was talking to and always called them by name. She said he would make the perfect car salesman. Wouldn’t you know it he gravitated to sales as a teen and still enjoys it, although he never sold cars. 🙂

    1. Can you see their personalities in the photo? I can, but I wondered if it came through to others. What a wonderful gift that weekend was!

  3. This was so lovely, I smiled all the way through. It would have been an entirely different post of some of you had been vegan or gluten free, or teetotalers. This was FUN! My children still continue to surprise me with who they are. They continue to evolve and I just watch in amazement. I only had 2 because there were 4 of us and our mother just didn’t have the energy for 3 of them. I opted for 2 only children. 🙂 I like your version of s’mores. 🙂 Now I want t cold beer. My darn son is a teetotaler. :(( Your kids are so interesting you could write lots of stories about them. I wonder where they get that from? 🙂 I always called the live-ins their significant other. I think marriage is over rated.

    1. Marriage is overrated, but I’m so happy everyone can legally do it in America, now. This WAS fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Of course, 90% of what I write is for them. So I hoped they enjoyed seeing Mom’s perspective!

  4. I loved the insight into your life. You have a beautiful family and now we all know what Bubba looks like lol. Your post are few and far between so I am always very excited when you post one…..I know I’m a dork, but you were one of the first that I connected to in this world of blogging. I am happy you are in this great place in your life. 🙂

  5. If you’re a dork, then we’re dorks together! I remember those early days of blogging when I found out that everyone was really pretty nice on here. You’re one of those people, so thank you for that!

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