I was asked to write a blog about what family means to me–in so many words. Within so many words, I share with you what family means to me. I invite you to share with us what family means to you.
Family is a funny thing. They say you can’t choose your blood, but you can. You may not be able to choose the fact that they share your blood, but you can choose whether or not they are in your life.
I grew up in what turned out to be a broken home. My parent’s got divorced when I was in 5th grade. My sister was in Kindergarten and my brother was in 7th grade. I don’t remember our ages as clearly as I remember the grades. We moved from New Jersey to Connecticut then POW parent’s got a divorce. I watched my father abuse alcohol, I watched my mother turn from a confident woman to a broken hearted mother trying to keep it together for her children. My father turned from a hard working man to support his family financially to an unhappy man who couldn’t keep his skeletons in the closet anymore. Our family broke apart. My brother ran away from the family problems and I took on the load of caring for my sister.
I always knew I wanted to have children. I knew I wanted to have children more than I wanted to have a spouse. After seeing the hurt and challenges my parents went through, I figured it would be easier raising a child alone. I didn’t need a man. I was in bad relationships, relationships with cheating, neglect, dishonesty, and full of men who just didn’t want to deal with their shit. It made me question my relationship with my parents, with my siblings. Was I too much of a mother figure to my sister? Was I dating men that resembled my father? Was I angry at my mother for depending on men to provide a sense of worth? Was I angry at my brother for not stepping up when we needed it the most? Did I feel betrayed by my family? I never stayed anywhere long enough to face my own demons, I took one opportunity to break it off with a man that I was trying so hard to love, so hard to fix, and then it clicked. I was projecting my familial relationships onto other relationships in my life.
I quit, and I ran.
I ran right into my husband. I ran into my husband, the father of my daughter, and my unborn child. When I wanted to run away from him because of course, being in a good relationship was even more challenging than being in a bad one, he showed me what it meant to stay. To stay and work through it all. And so it began. I began the work to make the relationships in my life, the relationships within my family, work for me, in a healthy way. My father was drinking way too much and I needed to create boundaries. Boundaries to the point where I didn’t know if it was healthy to have him in my life. My mother was depending on men for comfort and frankly, for life. I wasn’t sure how much more I could be supportive without being angry. This is when the choice comes into play. Who do I want in my life? My hubby proposed and I was then his fiancé, we then found out we were pregnant three months away from from our wedding. Now we are pregnant with our second.
This is the family I never knew I would have but always dreamed of having. If I was honest with myself and didn’t look to the future with fear and with skepticism, this is everything and more than what I could have ever dreamed of. Not just my husband and daughter, but my blood. My parents are not perfect. My siblings are figuring their way through life, as I am; as we all are. Families break apart if you’re not willing to be honest with each other, that doesn’t just go for blood it goes for friendships. The friendships that I have now, at this point in my life, these people are family. They are relationships I have been able to be honest in, and them with me, and we have grown together. If you can’t grow together, you break apart. Just because you break apart doesn’t mean you can’t come back together. But family, family pushes through. Family works through issues together. At each other’s necks, at times brutal arguing, but they push through together. Because this life is nothing without them, and sometimes broken is better. I wouldn’t have met the select few people that help make up this heart of mine if it wasn’t for the brokenness.
Cheers to your family, whatever that means to you. Hug them tight.