Dynamically Different

The family tree represents all the different varieties of family dynamics. Every family is unique, much like every person is unique.

Your family is part of your life and family can also mean like chosen people that you’ve known for who knows how long. Family is about a home, even if you’re related or not. ”

— Leymar Canales

It’s been a long week. Guidance counselor, Mr. Dustin Bailey finally gets home after January 5th’s academic night ready to collapse into bed, but unfortunately his 4-year-old has other plans. Xander Bailey, Mr. Bailey’s adopted son wants nothing more than to wrestle and play with his dad. As they spend time having fun with one another, Mr. Bailey is overcome by the love he has for his youngest and newest member of his family. 

Mr. Bailey is just one example of the family dynamics present at FHC. The variety of backgrounds and experiences lead to an overwhelming abundance of diversity within the families of Spartan Nation. Mr. Bailey had what many would consider a “typical” American family. His wife is a stay-at-home mom, who enjoyed more traditional maternal activities such as cooking and cleaning, while he worked full-time and performed tasks such as wood-cutting and maintenance. This wasn’t intentional, the Bailey family just naturally enjoyed what many would consider stereotypical roles. As the years went by and most of their children moved out, Mr. and Mrs. Bailey fell in love with Alexander, a beautiful baby boy, just 13 years younger than the rest of his children. This created a drastic change in the norm and their family had to quickly adjust to their newest addition.

The Bailey family welcomed their newest member, Xander, a few years ago. They enjoy many outings like the one shown above at a hockey game. (Mr. Dustin Bailey)

“It’s going to be different for him, being so much younger than his siblings and being adopted so that’s going to be part of his experience in life and I don’t know what that’s gonna look like. I kind of wonder sometimes how things will look and how it will be different and stuff? But I know that part of life will change our families for the better, but yeah, it will definitely change our family for the next 18 years,” Bailey explained.

Much like the Bailey family, senior Macy Pearson is also adjusting to life with new additions to her family. Her parents, who were divorced when she was 5, have long since remarried and last school year, welcomed new additions to their new families. Macy’s dad and stepmom had a little boy named Oliver, and her mom and stepdad welcomed Wyatt, coincidentally within a month of each other. Now Macy is learning how to be a good big sister with a large age gap with her younger siblings.

“My two little brothers that are 16 years younger than me. So that’s absolutely something and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love them so much. They’re my little best friends, and it’s kind of like a free trial on my own. I get my baby fever satiated by having babies in my house all the time, but I don’t have to be responsible for them all the time, which is really lit,” Pearson said.

It’s fun for Pearson to speak about her family without revealing the full story. Her family is complex and she knows it. So why not use that as a prime source for entertainment?

“It’s kind of interesting that I have two little brothers that are a month apart that are not related to each other. Yeah. Yeah, they’re not twins. I think it’s really fun watching people unravel that. Yeah, when I just tell them like just with a little less context than I should. I just let them figure it out. It’s kind of fun,” said Pearson.

While Pearson’s family is well interconnected with one another, other families do not share that luxury. Senior Evana Vrhovac’s family emigrated from Croatia, so meeting for family gatherings can be really difficult. While many other students have extended family at arms reach, the Vrhovac’s don’t have that resource.

“It’s really weird, because we’ll sometimes go visit but not often, and they are still your grandparents, but I can’t help thinking that, I don’t really know them. It was hard in elementary school when we’d have Grandparents Day and I had no one because they don’t live here,” Vrhovac said.

Sophomore Leymar Canales is a student who has had to adjust to a life with family overseas as well. Canales’s family emigrated from Puerto Rico when she was young, and have been a tight nit unit ever since. With extended family, aunts, uncles, and cousins, staying for a while in the Canales’s home, all from Puerto Rico, their Hispanic culture is a key part of their daily life.

“ We’re pretty different from the stereotypical American families. For example [traditional American families] live with their immediate families, right? Well we have a full house. Our cousin actually came to live with us for a while, and then he moved out like, like four days ago. Our family is really flexible when it comes to stuff like that, and we don’t do traditional American things. We just don’t know what they are. So we don’t do them. We have our own traditions”, Canales said.

Freshman Elena Weidg’s family is also very nontraditional; the Weidg clan is infamous among their friends for being ‘a little out there’. Loving all things Dungeons and Dragons and theater, Elena has broken from her family’s preferred hobbies by pursuing cheerleading and dance. She loves how her family jumps from one hyperfixation to another, and just goes with their own wacky flow.

“I think other people’s families are normal. My family is weird. [The Weidgs] are a bunch of nerds and they’re all so loud. They all have huge personalities too. My family is just really ‘out there’ and super confident.”

The illustration depicts the Wedge family after their annual Easter church service. The graphic has vibrant colors that match the Weidg’s energy. (Analiesa Hollowood)

Family is always complex with several experiences and layers to peel back. Most people can agree, there is no ‘normal’ family. Different traditions and dynamics are everywhere, especially here at FHC. All family is important and plays a crucial role in life, no matter what the definition of family is used.

‘Your family is part of your life and family can also mean like chosen people that you’ve known for who knows how long. Family is about a home, even if you’re related or not. All families are different, there is really no stereotypical American family, not even like a stereotypical Hispanic family, or any stereotypical family. We’re all different, so you can’t expect family to be the same,” Canales said.