I think I was four maybe five, when I overheard someone in my family member say. “We are all family, if anybody need anything at anytime we are your blood. Through the years that that’s what I heard and believed. It was something I could count on.
My older brother was considerably older than I he like the rest of my family was born in Texas. My family and my fathers first cousin moved to Cailfornia to work in the shipyards in Richmond. My brother and our cousins were brought up together and were all about the same age and he had a strong relationship with our fathers side of the family. He visited with them often and they had a close bond. I envied his relationship with this side of the family who lived three blocks away. I never felt welcome by this side of the family, I felt more like an out of town guest,
Strangely enough, I felt closer to my brothers, girlfriend’s (later his wife) family than I did my own. My closest bond was with my mothers brother’s children, we were close in age and I felt very welcome in their home.
My father died in his sleep when I was six. With a few of exceptions, what ever relationship I had with his side of the family died with him. No one made an attempt to get to know the six year old. While my mothers brother visited, the family who lived three blocks away rarely did.
For many years I didn’t have a close relationship with my brother, he resented my presence it6%ce and was physically cruel. However, his wife loved me, it was a instant love affair that started when I was three or four. My uncle was another bright light, he wasnt trying to replace my dad, but he was kind and patient. He was the person in the family, I most admired. His wife was extrodinarly kind to me and his children were close and loving they represented that family I wanted. My uncle was the man I wanted to be when I grew up. I think my strange love affair with station wagons was due to him and like him, I was going to have six children
Many adults underestimate a child’s intelligence. While they may not have the comprehension to fully understand what’s being said around them,they are actually listening. When you are a child, the sun rises and sets on the words of their parents and the important adults in their lives.
As the child grows, they become more observent, they begin to compare words with actions. You said this! but did that! You told me never, but I see you…. It’s a challenging time for both the child and the adult. Once, truth is questioned other cracks appear in what was once was a solid foundation.
When your young, family dissapointment is like no other. Everything you relied on at this point is unraveling.
My mother suffered from s depression for many years, I paid the household bills. When I moved away to college, a lot of my fathers social security benefits went with me. Her home went into foreclosure, she was behind $302. I called on family members. I knew by the sheer size of my family, it wasn’t going to be difficult and once it was current, I would make the payments directly from college. I was wrong, the buck was passed, as the timer was winding down, members of the family asked if they could have things from the home.
No one asked what would become of our mother, and no one volunteered to help move her belongings from the home. Friends came to our rescue, they rented a truck provided a car and drove her to the Central valley where I was attending college.
Through the years, there were several breaches of the trust. The greatest was from the uncle I admired. I learned he spoke ill of me and through the years made many false accusations, even though we hadn’t spoken in years and he didn’t know I lived in New York. He created stories and presented them as facts. What was most heartbreaking was that he told his children who believed him severing a life long relationship.
From what you’ve read so far it seems as if I am broken and resentful. The reality is this breach, has made me a better person. We do have choices, we can CHOOSE misery. (some people find comfort in their misery-and blame their lack of projectory on their parents and other dissapointments.)
I wanted to be better than what I knew. I didn’t want create negative stories and feast on the pain of family members. I wanted to be a person of genuine joy and a person of honor, this has taken some time.
I chose to give the things I didnt get from my family. To be that person, who said “Good Job, I am Proud of you”. Who says I love you, not to just family, but to people who are important to me.
An observer by nature, I have learned not to darken the enviroment with my personal issues and to avoid those who do.
I believe, the hurt and pain can be managed if we CHOOSE, however the scar remains Because of my scars, I dont trust many people in my family who are my age and older.
God has a plan. While I didn’t have the family, I wanted. He or she placed people in my life that more than made up for deficiencies with people I share a bloodline. They too are my family, the blessings they bestowed on me through the years is immeasurable, they were my wind, the people who told me to never give up and that I would get through it. People who moved my mother, people who helped pay to bury her, who bought my first suit for a job as a bank teller and the list goes on and on. I also wanted to be that friend for them.
My children, my young nephew and nieces respresent a new direction for some members of the family family of love respect and affection.
Life isn’t perfect, there are always challenges along the way. Today, when these new younger members of the family say’s ” I got cha” I believe them. These are just some of my blessings,I don’t take for granted.