Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family

Family is a tough topic for me to discuss. In part, because when I was growing up, we were always taught that you keep family issues private. You can be angry or upset with your family, but you NEVER tell others about it.

One of the things I have determined when I started this blog was that I wouldn't dredge up past memories, I wouldn't tell the stories about things that have gone on in my family, and the reasons for the strained or broken relationships that have occurred along the way. And I won't. I stick by that rule. But speaking in generalities, there are some important things I have learned about "family", and important revelations that have changed my concept of what that word means.

~Just because someone is related to you does NOT mean that they are family. There are relationships in life that do more harm than good, and unfortunately, sometimes those relationships are to people that you share a common blood with. One of the toughest, and yet the most important, things that I have learned over the years is that it is okay to walk away from those situations. It doesn't make you a horrible person, it doesn't make you less of a human being. It makes you someone that is seeking healthy relationships. Now don't get me wrong, I will always be there for my relatives if they are in emergency situations. I won't stay away from the bedside of one that is really sick or dying just to prove a point. But I have learned that I don't need to have a day-to-day relationship with them just because we came from the same gene pool. It's okay to walk away.

~Family, a real family, does not have to be born into, it can be chosen. This is something that Mike and his family have taught me over the years that we have been together. Mike is my family. He is my world. His parents and his brother are part of that world, and an important part. They don't act like I am one of their own, I AM one of their own. They don't treat me like a polite friend, I am one of the clan. I get picked on, teased, cared about, and remembered as one of the kids. They chose me to be their daughter, they chose me to be their sister, every bit as much as Mike chose me to be his wife, and I will never forget that.

~Some relationships are stronger than time or circumstance. Some relationships can be repaired over time. I have sisters that I keep in touch with, cousins that I am close to even after a lot of time passes, aunts and uncles that care about me, a grandmother that still sends me a birthday card in the mail every year, and a father that I am rebuilding a relationship with. Not every break in family relationships is permanent, although some are.

~My husband. Until I met Mike, I didn't really understand how the concept of family can be all wrapped up in one person. To me, family was a bunch of people that you had blood ties to, people that cared about each other, people with faults. But in my husband, I am complete. I know that sounds like a cheesy line, and I don't mean it to be. I don't mean to say that I don't need other people in life. But at the same time, the only person I NEED to be happy in my life is my husband. He is my all, my everything. This brings to mind the story of our engagement and wedding, which I will post in greater detail in another entry. But the important thing was, when we were engaged, and we were planning the wedding, and we would face another detail of "do we want to do it this way or that way", we would say to each other "it's not really important, as long as you are there, that's all that matters".

And you know what? That is still true to this day. Life is a complicated mess of ups and downs, relationships grow and fail, people come and go, we face struggles, and we celebrate the good times (of which I am blessed to have many). But in the end, at the end of each day, I can snuggle up to my sweetheart, and say "it's not really important, as long as you are there, that's all that matters".

1 comment:

  1. That's all that will ever matter to me!

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