I am from a broken family. Take that as you will, but in today’s society it seem that you would find more from a broken family than not. But what exactly does that mean? In my case, my parents divorced when I was little, maybe 2? Right after that both of my parents remarried to people that they are still currently married to. After a chain of events that I don’t think I will ever truly understand, I ended up in the permanent guardianship of my mother and her husband. Even though I was never formally adopted, I accepted my mother’s new husband as my father, better yet, he even accepted me as his daughter. He is and has been, my Daddy. Somewhere in there, my birth father felt that it would be best for me, if there was no contact between us. As harsh as all this sounds, I can accept that decision now. I know the circumstances in which that decision was made and I probably would have made the same one.
I grew up always questioning just who my father was. I would wonder if he thought about me, if my sisters thought about me. With the invention of the internet, I found myself, every few months, doing a web search about him. I would find different information here and there, so I had pieced together a little snippet of his life, but I never knew anything concrete. A few years ago, we moved to the Midwest. It was at that point that I realized that my father and his family lived pretty close (only 4 hours away to be exact). For 3 years I struggled with the decision to reach out to my father through Facebook of all things!
Let’s backtrack a bit here. I have no doubt that my family loves me. I truly love them all too. If I can be honest, and this is where it gets hard for me, I had a rough upbringing. It was not always roses and puppy dogs. There was a lot of screaming, slamming, slapping, tears, harsh words, frustrations, and walking on egg shells. Now, as a 33 year old adult, I struggle with my past. I struggle with the relationship between me and my parents.
If I can get down to the meat of it, it seems as if I have never lived up to what my mother saw for me or expected of me. What that is – I don’t know. I just know that I am a disappointment to her. My actions are a disappointment. This is a hard pill for me to swallow because I happen to think that I have done pretty good for myself. I could go and list all of the reasons why I think that I am not a disappointment, but then that would bring me right back to the purpose of this right now.
I have always thought that I have to prove something – that I needed to prove myself. Short of wearing a sign around my neck that says “Please love me now, this is why I deserve it: _______” and then listing all of my accomplishments, all of the reasons that I felt I was worthy of love or acceptance.
Being a mother yourself teaches you a lot. Unconditional love is something that parents just have for their children. No matter what my kids do, they will never, ever, in a million years, do something that will make me not love them, or not accept them. Now none of my 4 are teenagers yet... J I guess that I have just heard “I only say this” or “I only do this” “Because I Love You”, followed by a list of things that I have done wrong, or decisions that I have made that my mother feels are wrong. Long ago I have learned to just leave certain things out in conversations or not even bring things up or even, unfortunately, twist things so that I’m not “in the wrong”. Well then when the “truth” came out – things would just blow up even bigger.
So where does that leave me now? It has been a long hard road, but I am not going to apologize for who I am, what I do, decisions that I make that I feel are best for me and my family. I am who I am. You can either take me or leave me, but I will not compromise who I am for anyone. Even family. Now I do need to say that this is all subject to God and how he would like to change me. That I am open too.
Back to the point of this. About 10 months ago I made the decision to send a letter, via Facebook, to my birth father and my two half-sisters. At that the time I was in the hospital for an extended period (8 days) for some testing related to my seizures. The reason that I sent the letters was because I needed closure. I had a picture in my head of my birth father telling me that he had his own family now – and I didn’t fit into that. I wanted to just know that for sure. To my absolute delight things have turned out so much better. 30 years ago, things were what they were, we cannot go back and change the past. We can move forward from here. Questions have been asked and answered and we are learning what it is to be a family now. It is good. In spite of all.
Now those that are close to me and know a little about my situation with my “other” family. Things are not good. Things have not been good for a while. I can look back and think that I am pretty lucky because instead of not having any family support, now that I am back in contact with my dad and that side of my family, I do have the family support that I have always wanted. If I can be honest, I probably have more support NOW than I ever did. Whether or not that is true doesn’t matter but it is my perception of reality.
What is this whole point? I really don’t know. I guess I again felt the need to explain myself, justify my actions. But more than that, I think that it is important to understand your roots. In my field, I see history repeating itself all the time. I do not want history to repeat itself in my family. I am going to fight tooth and nail for a successful family. I want my kids to know that no matter what decisions they make, I will always love them and support them. Now I also hope that I am raising them in a way that spurs them one to make successful decisions for their life. I also hope that I am showing them that they can come to us with anything. Even things that we don’t necessary “like”. I want them to know that we are here to talk to them about anything. Even the uncomfortable things. All things that I don’t feel like I had. I don’t want my kids to have this picture of me in their head that makes them want to avoid me. I want to be better. Is that wrong? I sure hope not.
Bottom line. Life is good right now. I am happy. My kids are happy. We are happy.