Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ma familia

We were coming home one night a few weeks ago and my 7 year old randomly says to me, "Mommy, when Amber beats up Noah I get upset". Amber being his big sister and Noah his older brother, who might possibly be a descendant of Lucifer himself. Of course I offer the typical 'Awwwwww baby...' and explain to him that of course he'd get upset... he loves his brother. He is quick to shoot that theory down with a doubtful 'I don't know....' Instead he tells me that he thinks it's because Noah is his blood.

You see, a few days before this, I gave one of my memorable speeches on what it means to have brothers and sisters. Maybe it was so memorable because I was bellowing half of it, or maybe he just listened this time. Hell... maybe he listens all the time. There's a reason he's my favorite.

That day, after seeing enough of Amber, my eldest, treat her likes-to-be annoying, almost 9 year old brother Noah, like crap for the 100th time, I simply lost my mind. I cannot for the life of me understand why they treat each other so badly. I have sisters... I remember the fights. There were lots of them. it's impossible to put 4 people into any living space for any length of time and expect for there NOT to be conflict. but what I don't get is the lack of connection between child #1 and #2. That one baffles me. It's as if they just can't find any love between them. Truth is... it scares me.

There are so many things I want for my babies in this lifetime. Not all of them I can provide. Some of those things, they aren't meant to have either. But family... all we've got is each other. we live in a city where we have no family. It's just the 4 of us and the small circle of friends we are beginning to create. After 2 years... most of our time is still spent with just us. I want for them to have each other. There will come a day when I'm long gone and I'd like to know that they'll take care of one another.

I went through most of my adult life without the support of my family. Missing my sisterly bond. Sure we fought as we grew up, but they're my sisters. They're my people. They're my blood. More than once I questioned that bond created by the river of red running within my being. There were even times when I believed blood isn't thicker than water. Maybe because I was fortunate enough to have friends who are my family. Friends who have created such a deep connection of unconditional love with me that they have become my sisters and brothers. Honestly, there were times when I had nobody but those friends. They carried me through the hardest times in my life. They held my hand and dried my tears. My family wasn't able to do those things. As I've grown, I realized that it doesn't make them bad people who are incapable of loving. It just means they love me and the world in their own little warped way. So do I shut out the love because it isn't exactly what I need or the way I need it? I choose to allow them the respect of being who they are while maintaining a clear understanding of who I am and what I need and where I can obtain it.

This summer I went to see my family after being away for 2 years. We didn't have a farewell celebration when I moved to Ontario in 2008... we had a full blown explosion. It was ugly to say the least. Over the 2 years, we spoke a few times but it was awkward and painful. I'm sure I wasn't the only one hurting either. Time went on and I realized how deeply I missed them. When it came time for the visit, I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know if there would be more fireworks, or if I even had anything to talk about with people who had become familiar strangers in my world. But I approached it with an open heart and was met with the same. I was offered love and kindness and gratitude. I found hugs and warmth and laughter. I came home to my family.

That visit changed me. Those 3 or 4 days.... they changed my heart. I was able to fill a void in my world that only family can fill. I'd fooled myself for a long time into thinking that I didn't need them. That I could do fine without them and it wouldn't matter at all. I'm strong and resilient and I can manage on my own. While some of that is true, I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that there would always be an empty spot without them. Nobody can fill that place because nobody else does what family does. They were made especially for me. To fit perfectly in my heart. And while I tried to rent out the sister spot over the years.... none of the tenants could live there for long. Some of them stayed on, but they created new spaces and memories to fill my heart with, leaving the family compartment empty and dark.

I'm overjoyed about my healing relationship with my family. I'm ecstatic to be leaving for Vancouver in 2 days for yet another visit. I'm grateful that we didn't wait until someone died before we saw each other again. I'm grateful that we allowed forgiveness and love to overrule history and uncertainty. I feel blessed just to have siblings and a mother who is still alive.

The lecture to my battling spawn that day included a story of when I was in elementary school and the girls were being mean to me... because that's what little girls are best at. I will never forget my sister coming to the rescue. I remember her standing in front of me and giving them hell. Asking them how they would feel if someone was doing that to them. I won't ever forget the feeling of knowing that my sister had my back. I don't think children realize their parents were once children too and it surprises them when I tell them things that happened to me when I was small. It's as if they're forced to relate to me on another level that doesn't include me being big bad grown up Mommy who must be inhuman, or she wouldn't be so mean.

I informed them all that I expected them to be there for each other because they were blood. I let them know that family was there to support you no matter what. With a confused look, I'm asked by child #3, 'what does that mean... we're blood?' After a brief lesson on biology, he seemed to understand how he and his brother shared something deeper than a bedroom and a whole lot of Lego.

I surely don't know what's going to happen tomorrow... let alone what my children will be like when they grow into adults. I can only pray that they'll find forgiveness for themselves and each other as they move along in their journey. I will pray that their paths allow them the comfort of knowing one another long after I pass into another world. I can only hope that they won't let petty arguments ruin the opportunities to love the built in best friends that God gave them in their siblings.....

1 comment:

  1. They will learn by your example. And I'd say you're setting a pretty great one. xo