Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On family

Today I am thinking of family.  Mostly because I am not able to be with mine.  Apparently there is family coming in from Texas and other parts of the State----some that I have not seen in a very long time and who I would love to be able to give a huge hug too.  Given the disconnect and trouble right now with my parents (dad and step-mom), it makes sense that I would not be invited.  I don't even know that they are going to be there. Regardless, it would be awkward for me.  It is one thing to be so honest in this particular forum, it is something else to have to look everyone in the face and try to ignore what everyone is thinking...

I come from a very large family, but have often felt alone amongst everyone.  I never formed the kind of relationships that I see with my cousins or my aunts and uncles.  I really never got that close to anyone until much later in life.  I don't exactly know why, except that I was painfully shy around my family growing up.  Looking back I can see that it probably had to do with not really knowing who I was, so forming relationships, any kind of relationship, is difficult. But more than likely it had much to do with the protective armor I kept around me.  I guarded myself and my family secrets like a fortress. Getting close to anyone in the "family" risked someone finding out and with a family as large as mine gossip spreads like wildfire.  Lord only knows what everyone really knows or thinks. 

I think that is why I have always been so brutally honest with my girls.  They know EVERYTHING about me.  They are probably the only ones (with the exception of my husband) that has known every dark, dirty secret.  In some respects this is good because it has made them very understanding of other people. They don't judge others and are very accommodating and flexible within their environment.  On the other hand, a certain level of "childhood" has been taken away from them.  As they deal and face the same issues that I am dealing with and facing, they have had to grow up much faster than their peers.  At this point in my life, however, I wouldn't change how I have chosen to raise them.  I despise secrets in families.  DESPISE!  I would much rather they see me as a human being, full of flaws and weaknesses, than someone who would never disappoint them.  

Ironically, the only two people I have never had to be anyone else but myself with is my two children.  It is the vulnerable, childlike innocence that bonds us.  The raw emotion that we allow each other to feel and experience bonds us in a way that I don't know every parent has with their children.  If they ask me something I have done in my past, I tell them the truth.  If they ask me what each of my scars mean, physical or emotional,  I tell them.  They know I struggle with keeping myself from hurting myself, but they don't judge me.  They do something that I can't give myself.  They hug me, they tell me they will not leave me alone, they just sit with me silently in the room for however long is needed.  they nurture my little girl....because they are little girls and they see me like no other can.  

I don't know how all of this will affect them long term.  I like to believe that it will make them amazing mothers, wives, friends....that they will have the kind of compassion that often gets destroyed in adulthood.  What I do know, that without my daughters, I would not be here.  And I will fight valiantly with courage to grow up to be just like them.  

So, today, I am with family.  The family that really matters.