May 16, 2007

Why do families hurt?

I've been thinking a lot lately . . . . randomly . . . . . things will pop in my head that I mull over for a bit but usually get distracted by something kid centered, and forget what I was thinking about. The other night, this questioned popped into my mind out of the blue, just like that, and I couldn't let it go. I felt like I had to write it down to sort of purge it out me in a sense . . . . . make myself feel better. Why do families hurt? Why is it so hard for family members to accept each other just the way they are, revel in their unique-ness, and love them for who they are?

Growing up was a quick journey for me. Things like divorce, a working/young/going to school mother, an absent father, invasion of childhood privacy and step families threw me into a world where I was force to take care of myself at a young age. It taught me to be overly cautious and protective of myself and what I held dear. As a tween, I was living with my mom and step-dad, his part time kids and an evil ex-wife that made life miserable for everyone involved, all the while going through painful puberty, horrible jr high experiences and hating everything about myself. Add that with a father that ran from responsibility, pick drugs over his daughter every single time and left me wondering what I did to make him not love me.

I'm sometimes jealous of my husband's childhood. His parents are still together and he grew up in one house (where his parents still live to this day). His childhood was secure enough for him to feel free to go out and live life, learn from his mistakes. He spent his days hanging out with friends, going to rock concerts, throwing parties, fighting with his siblings, living life as an immature teenager trying to figure the world out. I spent my days walking home from school to an empty house and watching TV for hours. (I think this is also the root of my eating habits and weight issues. When I get bored, usually between 3 and 5, I will find myself in the kitchen opening cupboards and pondering over things in the pantry. Not good. I just had an Oprah "aha!" moment.)

I'm very, very protective of my feelings never to be too careful about possible bruising. Growing up as I did caused for a lot of bruising. Therefore, I'm overly protective of myself as an adult. This makes it hard for me to open up whole heartily to people. But if they stick around long enough, I do, and those people are like family to me. I have several wonderful friends . . . . the kind of friends I want to climb up to the tallest building and scream at the top of lungs how much I love them . . . . . true friends. Friends that laugh at my jokes and listen to my thoughts without judgement.

Sometimes, in quiet moments, I let my mind and my heart drift to the family members I don't have and I wonder "what if" and "why is that so painful" and "why is that so hard". It's hard not to wonder. There are times, I think about what I would say if I saw my father. Would I tell him how angry I have been at him all my life or would I say thank you for showing me what kind of person I never wanted to be? Or would I simply just ask him why he didn't protect me?

In the end, I come back to the family I do have. I'm so grateful to have my mom and RTW and my wonderful husband and my darling children. They fill my heart with love and acceptance. I guess, in a way, that is what we all strive for. Acceptance. Some more than others I suppose. Me, more than most.

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