Monday, April 11, 2011

F is for family

My Family in 2006

My computer was down, so I am a little behind on my A-Z challenge. Thursday's letter was F. Of course this is a no brainer...F is for family. Good or bad these are the people who are predominate in your life for ever more. And, like everyone else, I have both branches.

My Birth Family in 1981 or 1982

Take the bad, please! Ok bad joke. My birth family consisted of 7 of us. Mom, Dad, 3 girls and 2 boys. I am the oldest of the kids. Growing up, I was always closer to my brother Michael. We were 15 months apart and looked a lot alike. We were best friends growing up and even as adults. He died before his 25th birthday and it devastated me. But I used his death as a learning experience for my kids to not do drugs. It was a very successful way to turn a negative into a positive. As an adult, I became very close to my sister Jo, who was 5 years younger than I. As kids, we were at different stages so we weren't that close. Until she was diagnosed with Diabetes at 13 years of age. By this time I was living on my own, but always felt very protective of her. Our bond lasted until she died 3 1/2 months ago of heart failure. Another devastation.

Michael and I in 1982

Jo and I in 2006

My parents are still alive, as is 1 brother and 1 sister. I have no contact with any of them. That is the bad. Family is so important to me and it hurts beyond belief that I can't be close to them. And I don't even know why. This was not my choice. Over the years, I have tried to form positive bonds with my family, but without success. I have gone trough the 'what is wrong with me' stages. My middle son helped me deal with this struggle just 2 weeks ago. He told me that it wasn't me, they were just stupid. He has seen me struggle for a family relationship for so many years and told me that I needed to let it go. Thank you, son.

But the good, I have found so many cousins and Aunts and Uncles through my genealogy project. I have been working on a family reunion and trying to strengthen those bonds. There are so many people out there with whom I share blood. These are good people. People I was never given the opportunity to know as a child. I am getting to know them now. And it is good. It helps relieve the pain of being estranged from my birth family.

The best! My kids! I gave an insight to my daughter last week. I will introduce my children in detail as this challenge unfolds. They are my life. Was I the best mom? Probably not. But I can look in the mirror and say I did my best. They are all wonderful young adults and they always know I love them. And they love me back. I look at my kids and know that they will never feel the heartbreak of abandonment like I have with my own family. My family rocks!

My Kids 2007