Everyone has different experiences with family. Mine… well, it’s been pretty amazing. Despite a lot of drama and tears and fights and disappointments, we are closer and happier than we have ever been. My family.
My family consists of a brother and sister I couldn’t live without. A niece who makes me smile and reminds me what it is to be a teenager. A mother who loves me even though she rarely understands me. A father who was my best friend, an uncle who never didnt’ have time for me. An aunt who often took the time out to make me feel special. My cousins (I only have two first cousins) who I adore and have become closer to with each passing year. Their wonderful children who fill my heart and make me laugh. A grandmother who taught me the real meaning of love and forgiveness and a grandfather who had the most gentle smile. My other grandmother, who I learned was stronger than she thought and funny as hell. Her mother, who was as tough as nails, and loved her family with equal fervor. And I married a wonderful man who has one of the kindest loving hearts I have ever had the privilege of knowing.
I never knew my paternal grandmother and great-grandmother and my Papa died when I was five. But I know them through the stories my mom and grandma and dad told me. I could see them and hear them and feel them. I remember by Uncle Woody when I was a kid, running around the living room with my cousins and me, just being silly. Then later in high school, helping me with my physics homework, while everyday getting worse from the Parkinson’s that ravaged his body. But he always had time for me.
This is the family I was raised with, the ones who have been with me from the beginning. Sometimes they know me better than I know myself. But over the last ten years, I’ve learned that family isn’t about DNA or blood,it’s about a bond. A consistency. It’s about loyalty. Sharing hard times as well as good times. I love these people more than air, but there is another part of my family. Those friends who become family. The ones who stay forever. The ones who embed on your soul.
I have been luckier than most, but I suppose I tried harder than most. I love to be around people and sometimes they suck, but sometimes I am rewarded beyond my wildest dreams. I have some of the most amazing friends anyone could ever imagine. They weren’t raised with me, we don’t share a bloodline, we grew up in different surroundings, and yet we are all connected. By our laughter, by our dreams, by our love.
Sometimes the people we’re tied to genetically aren’t worth the time of day. Sometimes they hurt us so badly that we can never go back. That kind of betrayal is devastating and yes, that has happened to me too, but what I’m learning is that although I may never forget, or allow a bridge to be re-built, I can forgive and move on. I’m letting go of my anger, but only because it hurts me. I loved you once, so I can remember that and wish you the best.
I miss those members of my family who have gone on before me, but I carry them with me always. I don’t get to see my cousins or siblings as often as I would like, but I talk to them all the time, or text, or email and I hold them in my heart. My husband and I are ending our marriage this year, but we are still best friends and will always be there for one another, he is my family. My friends are scattered around the country, but we do what we can to see one another or talk to one another when it’s possible.
The bond we have strong because we nurture it. We build on it and support it. I have an amazing family and I know how truly lucky I am. For these are the people who fill my soul, raise my spirits, have my back and hold my heart. This is my family… and they are extraordinary.
Amendment to previous post:
I said that I was betrayed, and I was, but I also said I wouldn’t allow a bridge to be built again. I take that back. It so happens that I’m embarking on a road to forgiveness. Allowing a bridge to be built that will be based on trust , respect and honesty. Hopefully, I’m not making a bad decision, but then again, it is my decision to make. Hope does spring eternal… and life is too short to be angry. So, I take it one step at a time… that’s all I can do. : )