Looking for Family

When I was younger I desperately wanted a family. At the time I was not particularly close to any member of my birth family. Because of this I would try to meld with others into their family, I felt like the proverbial cuckoo’s egg. I was trying to plant myself in to a family. Doing this is basically how I survived a large portion of my childhood. I would find a friend that would let me be a part of their family in a small way. Even if it was only in my imagination, I created family.

When I was twenty-one I moved from San Antonio to Massachusetts to be near other parts of my birth family. By that time the need for family had become so great inside of me. I just wanted to have family and here were actual blood relatives. At the time the need that I projected was so great that I am surprised that they did not just turn and run away. My need to feel nurtured or to nurture was so huge that I did not even recognize it. As time past I felt as though I was isolating myself from them in many ways. I felt that I was intruding into their lives. Or I would feel as though I was taking advantage of their generosity. As I saw the need in me I tried to be casual. I also felt their withdrawal from me as I withdrew. In some ways I was the unknown interloper trying to impose myself on them and their family. I did not grow up around them and I did not really know them. I had grown up thinking about them. And was jealous of their closeness to each other. And here I was an outsider trying to get into their inner circle.

As I gained more knowledge of myself and who I wanted to become I found that I did not quite fit in with some of the family that had welcomed me. Or this was my belief. Whether or not this was true it was what I believed.

I moved on and away from family at some point. I stopped trying to become one with them and stopped trying to find what I was missing. In time I found the man that would become my husband. Together we created our own family. A large, loud, and beautiful family. That I have been very honored to be with as they grow into adulthood. They have given me an immeasurable sense of being a part of something truly amazing.

I often look back with regret on the family that I seemingly scarred off. I don’t think it was all me. I don’t think that it was anyone’s fault or anything like that. I just regret that the only contact I have with most of my family is on facebook. I am just glad that the deep need that I had,from the time I was very little to be a part of a loving family, has finally been realized.

I have often wondered if others who have come from abusive homes have similar experiences of looking for family. I have a very big family now. I am close to my sister that I grew up with and I have created an extensive family of friends who function as family. My choice family rather than a birth family. There are many members of my birth family or extended family in my choice family. For which I am very grateful. I guess where I am going with this is that family is what you have. Even if what you have is family that you brought together and not one you were born into. If home is where your heart is than so is family.

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Saturdays

I remember Saturday mornings as cartoons and cereal. Getting up early before my parents and watching the cartoons. I am old enough to remember watching the Beatles cartoon that was on Saturday mornings. I also remember watching Schoolhouse Rock in between the cartoons. Which is how I memorized the Preamble to the Constitution. I still have to sing it in order to recite it however. It never made the transition from song to just words. I found out how a bill became a law and other fun facts. I loved conjunction junction and my favorite number was “8” because of the skater. And I loved that alone time on those Saturdays when I managed to get up before everyone else.

There was also that horrible morning that I overdosed on peanut butter toast. I can still not eat warm toast with peanut butter. Just the smell…ugh. But the best part was being able to pick the cartoons. Having siblings always made watching your favorite cartoons problematic. There was also the time we were moving across country and were traveling on the first Saturday of the cartoon season. There was one new show that I wanted to watch and only was able to see the first ten minutes. I of course have gotten over that.

Saturdays have changed a lot since then. Now we do not have television. We have a television but we receive no stations. So it is pretty much whatever we have for movies. I have a large family, eight children. Some are grown and moved out. Some are still here. The morning is usually spent racing to get at the left over pizza from the night before. (Friday night is homemade pizza and movies night) And then time spent teasing each other and playing games. Similar to my Saturdays as a child minus the cartoons.

Some days it is nice to reflect back on the good times I had as a child. There were quite a few. And it is nice to think about the good times and not always the horrible or the bad things that happened. Today, watching the snow and listening to my children interact with each other, sometimes loudly, is a good place to be. Physically, Spiritually, and mentally it is a peaceful place.