Saturday, December 15, 2012

Family Portrait by Skyler Clark

It may surprise you to know that six out of the seven people in this photograph are immediate family.  Only two people are blood relatives, three are adopted, one is a half-blood relative, and another isn’t related at all. Nevertheless, five out seven are, in fact, my relatives.   Because of our obvious age differences, you might guess that the older ones are my uncles and aunts but it is true that most of them are really my brothers and sister. The only one not in the immediate family is my brother Ryan’s former girlfriend, Debbie. She is the third from the left.  Ryan has his arm around her.  If you haven’t guessed already, yes, the little kid in the photo is me. This may come as a shock to you, but my family isn’t the simplest family there ever was. We, as a family, are like a very complicated mineral that can be separated into the many different elements that form it. Upon separation there isn’t much to link us together: most of look very different, the age gaps are incredibly apparent, and as you can see by looking at our hair or our clothes, we each have a different style. However, when we are combined we each become a part of an incredibly unusual rock, otherwise known as our family. 

Adam was and always has been a free spirit. He never really conformed to society’s rules and for the most part did what he wanted when he wanted. You can tell a lot about his personality from the photograph itself. All the way up to adulthood he always had that long wavy hair and wore the loose fitting clothes. He looked a lot like what one would might consider to be a hippy and his personality wasn’t too far from that either. He is the oldest in the family by far and was looked up to by Ryan the most. Ryan and Adam look the most like actual blood-related brothers even though they had no blood-relation whatsoever. They both had very long hair and similar personalities. Ryan was never as outgoing as Adam, but not many people that I know of, at least, are. Adam has always been a risk taker, looking constantly at the positive outcomes first and the negative ones last, if at all. Joel, the one in the middle holding me, is the opposite. He was, and still is, a lot more hesitant about making decisions. As you can see in the photo he kind of stands a little apart from everyone else, which matches up well with his personality. He is a very different person than Ryan and Adam. Although he isn’t the most outgoing person in the world, he is never afraid to voice his opinion, an attribute that Ryan never had. Those three: Ryan, Adam and Joel make up the brothers from my dad’s side, which leads me to my mom’s side of the family.   

Nolan, the one at the far left, has always played a key role in my life. He was a very rambunctious kid, to say the least, and took pleasure in giving me constant beatings. If you look at the photograph you can tell by the way he is holding his arm that he is very anxious to get on with things. Our sister, Bevin has probably had the most difficulties fitting into the family. In The photograph, itself, you can tell that she doesn’t appear to be too comfortable and stands with her arms crossed to the side of my brother Adam. This is, in part, due to the fact that she is the only girl, making her physically different but also mentally and emotionally separate as well.  You might think that because we are all so different we didn’t treat each other like brothers and sister but that was never the case. I have never once seen my brothers and sister as separate from my immediate family. To me there was no “mom’s side” or “dad’s side” we were all just one big family. We may have all been fundamentally different people, but we still cared for each other the same way anyone would love their brothers and sisters.

That was a terrific night. I was all bundled up in my warm Mickey Mouse pajamas with the matching red socks to go along with it. I still have the faint memory of my brother Adam, who is the tall one with the long hair to the right, swinging me around the room, holding me by my legs. I can’t exactly remember which holiday it was, but we were celebrating something that night. The photograph goes back at least a good fifteen years or so, and family portraits have and always will be a rare occasion in my family so we must have gathered together to celebrate something important. As a little kid, I always figured that my family would remain as close as it was then. I had always known but was never directly told that one day everyone would move out, leaving me alone with my parents. It is funny how time changes things. Adam, Nolan, and Joel all have kids of their own now. Ryan is happily married with his two pugs and Bevin is engaged to her boyfriend of ten years.  The closest one is Joel who lives in Torrington. Ryan lives in East Granby, Bevin in Chicago, Nolan in Vermont, and Adam in New Orleans. The fact that everyone lives so far away now, makes this picture even more special to me. As I said before it isn’t every day that my family takes a portrait, especially with both sides of the family included.  I do not know how long it will be before my family takes another family photo like this one. I cherish this photo and faint memories the come with it. Hopefully one day my family will have another opportunity to take a photo where we all are together like this one.

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