Life isn't a Norman Rockwell

Hey guys! Are you ready for Christmas yet?! It's only TWO days away! I can't wait for my brother and his wife to get here tomorrow night and let the fun begin!
I know that this time of year is so much fun for people, but there are a lot of people that this time of year is really hard to make it through.
We all have our own ideas and opinions of what a "perfect christmas" is, but let's be honest- life is not perfect. If it were perfect then everyday would look like a Norman Rockwell, but in my life it is FAR from that.
I want to share something deep from inside me, if you don't mind. I'm making it a point to make this blog personal, and I can't be real with you and not share the dread that I am feeling about Chirstmas.
I used to have ^this family. The family who got together EVERY holiday, EVERY birthday, and EVERY Sunday for lunch at Grandmama's house. The family who acted silly and wild, but loved each other very much. You know, the family that everyone wishes they had. It's so easy to be jaded when you're little and think that everything is perfect. It's even easy to overlook things when you get older and realize everything is not what it seems. But it is not easy to deal with the fact that you no longer have THAT kind of family.
My Grandmama died and when she did the grief of losing her literally tore my dad's family apart. We got together that Thanksgiving and tried to make it work. Tried to maker her special, one of a kind dressing, turkey and secrect bar-b-que sauce. We tried to make nice and pretend like she was still there. But she wasn't. And without her the love in that family evaporated. She was such a special and unique person that all of us together couldn't match her kindness and love. We tried, Lord knows we tried, but it didn't work.
You would think at 19, you could try and fix that situation. But I was trying so hard to act like I wasn't affected that she was gone (something I still do and still deal with a lot.), I just went along with all the charades. Needless to say, I don't remember what that year's Christmas was like. But I do know that the next year our family was so at odds that no one spoke to each other. My dad & mom moved away and no one even looked twice in their direction.
It's been that way ever since. For the past four years my family has acted like children. Last year, my mom decided that we needed to get together and she invited the whole family up for Thanksgiving. Enough time had passed that everyone was friendly, but the bitterness underneath it all was still there. You might not have been able to tell from the outside, but it was there. This year when Thanksgiving came, we didn't hear from that side of our family. I later found out that they had a family thing without us. The whole family besides my dad and his kids. It broke my heart. It made me so angry. Still. After all this time and all these years I am so angry that they are so blind. If we can't love our family, then how are we supposed to love strangers? If we can't love our family, then how are we supposed to care about the people who are suffering in this world? If we can't love our family, the people who share our dna structure and blood lines, then how can we love ourselves.
I wish SO BAD, that I could fix this family. That I could peel off a giant band-aid and put it on the wounds, but it can't be fixed. Now, after this year, I'm not so sure I want it to be fixed because I'm sure they don't care about us the way I care about them. I hope God has mercy on us and I wish so earnestly that he would fit it. I've prayed for years and years that he would, but it just isn't his time I guess.
So, I wish I had that tradition back in my life... cause the holidays aren't the same without them. I am very family oriented and the only thing I can do now is surround myself with the family that I have here and the ones I let in close enough to be family. But they still don't fill that empty space.


Elis said...

*hugs* :/
When my grandma died four years ago, it had a profound effect on our family, too. I never realized that she was the glue holding everything together until she was gone. One of my uncles behaved terribly during the last of her illness and after she died, and things have never been the same. No one gets together for holidays anymore, and we barely talk. Our family isn't very big anyways, but now it feels even smaller. My mom has made a huge effort to at least keep the lines of communication open and maintain some facade of closeness, but it was harder for her to let go because that's her big brother. For me it was easiest to just let whatever happened be...I just allowed myself to react naturally to what went on and didn't try to make myself feel or do anything other than what I felt. My mom was upset by my attitude, but my other uncle pretty much agrees with me, and the only good thing that came out of all this is that me, my mom, and my daughter all got a lot closer with him. I'm comforted by the relationship that has grown between us, and the knowledge that it would've made my grandma so happy to see us getting closer with him.

In the end, I think you can only do your best and nothing more. Relationships are a two-way street, and if your family won't meet you at least halfway, then there isn't a lot you can do about it. You can always maintain the hope that things will eventually change, and keep your heart, mind, and door open to them should they ever decide to pick up where they left off, and try to take comfort in the fact that you did everything you could.

I think having a relationship with your blood relatives is important, but I believe you can also build your own loving family from the friends, lovers, or even co-workers around you who care for you and will be there for you when you need them. No matter what happens with my family, I always know that I have friends I can turn to who would never let me down, and that means so much to me. :)

Happy Christmas to you, and please pardon my long rambling comment! ^^; Your story just hit really close to home for me and I wanted to let you know that I totally understand. ^^

heather dawn said...

Elis, I can't tell you enough how thankful I am for this comment! Your situation sounds eerie similar to mine! And it's comforting to know that good has come from yours. I hate it how families act sometime and I miss them, but this Christmas was a very good one.

And I needed to hear this
"Relationships are a two-way street, and if your family won't meet you at least halfway, then there isn't a lot you can do about it."

Elis, you are so sweet and you always make me feel so special. Thank you!!! *hugs*

Elis said...

Aww, I'm really happy that you had a good Christmas!! :) And I'm glad too that my comment was helpful. ^^
I think sometimes it's good to just know that you're not alone in your experience. :)
Happy day after Christmas to you, sweetie! ^_^