Complicated Relationships

Family does in fact mean different things for different people…

(also…I chose this feature photo becaues it isn’t perfect, I had a better one, but this rang true to me for this post.)

So I decided to not cheat today and do a video blog, I won’t even type it, you guys know…that I know what it’s really called but I absolutely hate the word! LOL… Anyway, today I would like to touch on a topic that hits close to home for me and if I had to guess almost everyone reading this will relate on some level. So here goes…

Photo by lil artsy on

A second reason I chose to write this instead of record is because sometimes I think I can articulate my message better when writing it. I hope that is the case today.

If you haven’t watched my FB Live today you can view it on the FB page for A Mom With Musings, it will explain some things but if you choose not to I will still speak about it here to give a little background. I am the oldest of 6 children coming from multiple marriages. You would need a chart in order to understand who is who and which marriage and what side of the family each person is from. No joke. I have actually drawn charts for people before in order to more easily explain it, including my for my husband. My wedding was interesting, but also one of the happiest days of my life.

That being said, recently, and when I say recently I actually mean last night, lol…one of my brothers posted a one liner and tagged me in it on FB. He then texted me telling me to not be offended or take it personally, he just hates the fact that we all ( the 4 siblings that lived together) act like we never shared a bedroom. His point being we don’t speak often or interact with each other much.

I get it. I truly do. I come from a broken home, there is no dancing around that fact. And it is also true that when we were young children my siblings and I were thick as thieves. It was always US against THEM. We had each others backs, we fought each other like cats and dogs but we also loved each other with just as much passion that we fought with. But…we aren’t those children any longer. We aren’t those young adults any more, and hell, to be honest, I am far from the adult I was 10 years ago when I got married. My point…we have evolved. We have grown, we have been wronged and righted, but in the end, we just are not who we were and to me that is a change that is always constant. If we are doing life right, we should always be evolving into better versions of ourselves. At least in my opinion. I am definitely not perfect and fail at that notion more often than not. But it’s a goal at least.

Photo by Alena Koval on

More to my brothers point. I feel his pain. He was always and still is a sensative person. I understand his yearning for us to “go back in time” if you will, and be those siblings again, but from where I stand, somethings are just not possible. I have always been grateful for the relationship that I have had with this particular sibling. We have never really had any major falling outs, a little drama here and there as with any family but nothing we didn’t move past. I am grateful that we are able to text one another out of the blue, and if I am being brutally honest it’s usually others texting me as I am awful at it. Still, I am grateful to be able to have a random conversation out of the blue that is always funny, pleasant and free of drama or guilt or any of those baggage type feelings that can hitch a ride on relationships. I don’t necessarily have the same relationship with other members of my family. I have cut one person out completely. Others, we wish each other Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas things like that. We have grown, but we have also grown apart. For the better or worse it is the reality.

There have been transgressions that have occurred between some of my family, some having to do with me personally and some not. I know at least one of my siblings has always felt like I abandoned them when I moved from Georgia to New York. That is their right to feel that way. They were young, and as lousy of an example I was, (and I do think I was and probably still am a terrible older sibling as far as leading by example and all that other stuff that comes along with being the oldest) I was still someone they looked up to for guidance and protection and many other things that at my age, I couldn’t provide. I made a choice that was hard, but it was the best choice for me, at least that is how I see it. I needed a change, I needed to find myself and my life and get reunited with family that I hadn’t known or seen since I was a toddler. It was one of the scariest and most difficult decisions I ever made. One of the best as well. I understand any resentment. I get it. But at that point in my life it wasn’t about anyone else, it was about me, doing what I felt I needed to do. Some things, some choices, some transgressions, you can’t come back from. That is just truth.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

I am not exempt from that either. So please don’t misread this as me being on a soapbox of any kind. I am far from perfect and I have given up on trying to be so. The thing is, as we get older, we change. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes not. Sometimes we find that the people we grew up with are not necessarily the same people we would choose to hang out with, not that this is the case here, but I do believe that to be the truth in life. It should be. We shouldn’t stifle one another even if that means we grow apart. Live your life, your best life. I will try to live mine and if our lives coincide as we evolve as people that is wonderful and a bonus and a blessing. If it doesn’t, than it doesn’t, you continue to live your best life.

I watch a lot of my extended family from afar. We live in many different states far from one another, some more than others, we are connected on social media, and I keep tabs when I can. I don’t get involved in the drama, I have no place for that in my life any longer, but I do wish all of them well, and have great joy in my heart when I see them growing up and having families of their own and successes. I may have missed a lot of their youth, and most of their adult lives, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them as you would feel love for any family member. I also wish nothing but blessings for them. I believe you can still have these feelings for family and not be very connected. It’s not as though I wish them ill, or anything negative, it’s just…life.

I told my brother I have learned a few things at my young age of 47 years. (I say that, and I truly hope to live to 100, but both sets of grandparents have passed in their sixties and early seventies so…we shall see) I feel that I may genetically be already more than halfway through my life. In that, I have discovered a few key lessons.

1. Say what’s on your mind, don’t mince words, life is too short. Mean what you say and say what you mean.

2. You do not have to allow toxic people, regardless of their “title” in your family, into your own personal life and headspace. You are not obligated to subject yourself to their toxicity just because they are your brother, sister, mother, uncle etc…

3. And this may be the most important one of all, life is too short to dwell on the past. You can accept someone’s apology, and not forgive them. You can also move past it and continue a relationship and not forgive them. The key, might be, is to have reasonable expectations or even better have none at all. Some things can’t be forgiven, but they can be moved on from.

Photo by Max Fischer on

I know, some of you will try to “church school” me and tell me that you must be forgiving. Well, I respectfully disagree. I can still feel love for someone but not forgive them. I can still have some form of relationship with a person, even if it’s at arms length, and not forgive them. I think you can have compassion for people, sympathy, empathy but also still not be forgiving. I don’t believe that makes you hateful. I believe it keeps you honest.

Then there are those who fall into that toxic category, who I cannot forgive and cannot allow into my life. That is my choice to make as well as my cross to carry if that be the case. As I said in my FB Live today, we all make our own beds and we all have to lay in them.

Photo by Rubenstein Rebello on

Family is such a sticky word isn’t it? It can have so many meanings. I have friends who feel like family and family who feel like friends and some that feel like neither. You all know that phrase about how sometimes family may not mean who you were born into? It’s true. Family is not necessarily about blood, but more about love and respect. I am fortunate enough to have people in my life, my “framily” that truly do feel like that to me. I also have family that do not match their “title”, a cousin that is like a sister an Aunt who is like a Mother, another cousin who is like a little sister to me (huge age difference, lol) We can’t and shouldn’t ignore who those people are. We shouldn’t deny who they are to us either for the sake of saving someone elses feelings. That is a disservice to them and everything they have done for you. I know some people in my family do not like the idea that I view my Aunt like a Mother but I am steadfast and unapologetic on that front. I can’t deny the impact, influence, help and guidance she has given me unconditionally all of my life. Is she perfect? Of course not, but I still adore and love her. And I am eternally grateful for her and other people in my life that don’t match up with their titles. I think we all have at least one person we can think of like that. At least I hope you do.

So to wrap this up, I am not perfect. I don’t pretend to be. I have made mistakes, I have hurt people. I have disappointed people. I know people who feel I have done them so wrong, they have not forgiven me even after I have apologized and have cut me from their life. And you know something? That’s okay. It’s all okay. We can’t spend our lives living for the past. Yearning to recreate something that would in the end be artificial at best, or a shell of its former self. That’s no way to live. Be happy for those people. Wish them joy. Wish them blessings. Wish them well and hope that they live a long, happy and healthy life. Keep your door open for the ones that deserve your energy and space and have earned that right to come in.


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