Christmas Crash

Back to work today, and I’ve been informed N’s family loves me. That’s good; it’s good to feel welcomed by another when my own has decided I’m not anymore.

N’s family is an interesting set of people, and despite their history, I am amazed at how well they do together. There is certainly opportunity for hatred and fighting and discussion of past sins, and yet I haven’t seen it, or more importantly, felt it. They’ve got it all, in Biblical proportions: addiction, genderbending, homosexuality, adultery, sacrilege. Somehow, there is an overarching theme of love that comes through the obstacles that might tear them apart, and it’s rather shocking.

I’ve been assured that it wasn’t always so easy for N or them. Of course it wasn’t. It never is. But the ability to grow and change proves a sense of resiliency, especially as a collective, and that is the basis of family. It makes me wonder what is so wrong with mine, or perhaps with me? Having spent countless holidays with other families as the friend, the girlfriend, the prodigal daughter, I can say now that there is something among families that is lacking in mine. I don’t know how to remedy this. I don’t know if extricating myself from the equation will help us work it out, or if pushing them to recognize who I am, which is a product of their upbringing, will help us all move forward. Should I be the catalyst, the therapeutic change agent?

What I do know is that being welcomed into other families, which I always have been, is not the same as having my own. Other families do enjoy my company, they do recognize me for the adult that I am, and take me for a decent human being: these are qualities we all want our families to see in us as we’ve matured. But this will never replace the legacy of having been raised by people who have known us since birth.

My sister told me yesterday that my uncle — my mother’s slightly-older brother — had a severe stroke. He’s stuck in Florida now, where he was wintering. He’s using a g-tube to eat, cannot speak, and is unable to walk. My cousins, who are the same ages as my sister and I — young, forging our ways into the world — are in shock. My grandmother had a stroke recently. My dad’s mother had strokes, and died recently. It seems lives are ending all around my parents, and they must be thinking of their own lives’ ends. It happens that way. I wonder if that will give them any impetus to move forward with me.

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