Sunday, February 6, 2022
As progress on the home purchase has sort of stalled for a while, and I have no other projects I want to start or resume if we’re about to move, I’ve had a lot of time to sit and think. And since we just came out of the holiday season, a lot of my thinking has been about family.
Growing up, my mom taught me family comes before anything. And no matter what happens, family has your back. So I’ve always wanted a big family. I wanted siblings, and I wanted a bunch of kids. And I wanted our kids to all grow up together and know one another... for my mom and dad to play as big a part in my kids lives as my grandparents were in mine. I wanted the big, loving family that has disagreements but always comes out of it because they love each other.
Those dreams are so far from reality.
• I was raised by my single mom and I was an only child.
• I spent every other weekend with my dad, and a couple weeks each summer with his parents.
• My moms parents passed away before I was born or I could spend time with them.
• My mom has one sister that had 2 sons, and the other sister had no children. The 2 boys and I rarely ever saw each other, and haven’t now in many years.
• My dad had a sister who had two daughters. The older of the two was around a bit when I was there in the summer and for holidays. But the younger one wasn’t around while I was much at all.
• My dad remarried and had a son when I was 15. The age gap was big and he and I didn’t get close at all. We don’t talk or see each other ever.
• My mom remarried and also had a child when I was 15. I was there for a lot of their upbringing, off and on, and I even took them in a couple times. We’ve had our differences, which has created a distance. But we’re working on that more now. However we don’t ever see each other.
• I don’t see or speak to any of my aunts or uncles.
• All of my grandparents have now passed away.
• My dad turned his back on me over political differences about 10 years ago, which has remained devastating to me.
• We also don’t have many close family friends to call family.
I married Jarrod, a man who has a big family, thinking I could find my place within. But that has not happened either. His daughters are definitely not a fan of mine, and every decision Jarrod makes that they don’t like, they blame on me and call me controlling. Which I guess in a way I would expect from kids, as I felt the same way about my step mom. But it’s not just his kids. Other family members won’t accept me either, to a degree that they won’t even come to see our child together (Felix), or communicate with me in any way, unless Jarrod is also present. Which is quite hurtful.
So the dream of having a big family, I have realized, isn’t going to happen in this lifetime. I have my mom and my own 4 children. I have my husband. I have 1 sibling who chats with me online. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful and appreciative of them all. But the big family ideal never came to be.
And in turn, my kids have grown up, or are growing up, without a lot of other family members around, a small support system in difficult times, and unengaged grandparents. Which in my eyes, means it’s up to me to do my best to fill some of those roles.
This is why, when we’ve had hard times, or I need a break, and people say “just leave them with a family member,” or something to that effect, it’s simply not an option.