Tag Archives: Family

Cause He’s Watching And He’s Proud

27 Jun

I’ve had this sneaking suspicion for as long as I can remember, that my nature was my dads and my nurture was my moms.

And I felt somewhat guilty about this. Like I was betraying… both of them?

But on Mothers day, at brunch my mom said it out loud.

Now I want to be clear.

Often I write uncomfortable things here, things about how satisfying crying can be, or the depth of grief. And people try to console me. My mother and my friends and the guys I date reach out to make sure I’m ok.

The amazing thing is that I usually get that sort of treatment about stories which are joyous in my own head. That revelation about crying was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. It changed my life in such a positive way. And yet, lots of people used it as an opportunity to tell me they were here for me, seemingly completely missing the point.

So let me say right here that when my mom told me “She’s always been more her dads side of the family” it felt so good, such a relief. I wasn’t harboring fugitive feelings anymore. I was right, I was alert and aware. Not to mention a daughter of my father, which also feels good.

I don’t like sitting through movies. I get bored when people don’t express themselves using the full capacity of the english language, I enjoy writing with wit and poignance. I’m my fathers daughter.

A Family Is A Soft Place To Land

20 Apr

One of the best perks of being a newly minted adult is getting to start experiencing your family members as people in their own rights. Becoming friends with my family members is amazing.

In the last year I’ve heard about decades worth of suicide attempts, kidnappings, and near death experiences. It’s like a 10-season telenovela that I conveniently slept through and now I’m catching it in syndication.

Learning about the rest of my family (dead or alive) is amazing and provides such incredible context for the dynamics that I know now.

And given all that,

I remember that when I was looking at colleges I really wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t too close. There was a big, wonderful university right near me and as far as I could see I had a 50/50 chance of getting in if I applied. I hemmed and I hawed for months about whether I wanted to apply.

If I applied and I didn’t get in then it would be a huge hit to my ego.

If I applied and I did get in then I would have to break my own and my family’s hearts by saying out loud that I wanted to go far enough away not to feel guilted into staying at home.

In my memory I struggled with this decision silently for months. I was embarrassed by how selfish the need was. I was needed at home. And I would choose my freedom over the needs of my family.

Last week I got dinner with my aunt and uncle, the tellers of such fantastic tales. My aunt casually mentioned my struggle to choose to get away. Apparently I had solicited her opinion during that time. Apparently I had told her all those concerns and how conflicted I felt. I became a contributing member of our family lore. And she remembered. Because I was important.

It sounds so silly but it felt so good, so validating to be reminded that I mattered, because I was a part of something. And always will be.

Is It Really All That Scary? Maybe You’re Doing It Wrong.

9 Feb

Today at work a lovely woman I sometimes see was talking about her upcoming wedding plans. One of the guys remarked that when he was studying psychology in school he was advised, “before you marry, spend time with your fiance’s parents. The way you react to her mom, take note of that.”

“Oh, no!” my engaged friend remarked. “That can’t be. He’s nothing like his dad. His dad makes me nuts. And I’m nothing like my mom.”

People my age brag about this all the time. I’m nothing like my mother. Meanwhile I’m hearing my mothers voice flying out of my mouth every minute of every day. I look down at my hand grabbing something and see hers at the end of my arm.

A few years ago I asked a friend

How many times a day do you think I’m becoming my mother to yourself? 

About once a week.

ONLY ONCE A WEEK?!

I’m heartened by the fact that people tell me I sound more like my grandmother (who died before I could talk) than my mother. Which means that I’m the embodiment of best qualities of the two.

It doesn’t scare me, turning into my mother.

Or shall I say, the new and improved version of my maternal lineage.

Now stop bragging mom. I know you’re reading this.

Grateful To Be Part Of The Team

27 Nov

Every thanksgiving I scroll through my feeds alternately yawning and misting as only a true New Yorker could. You’re so grateful for the friends that got you through this year. You’re wishing for world peace. You’re so thrilled to be with your biological family or grateful to have found your logical ones. 

And I’m happy for you but it can start to feel a bit cliche.

This year, for the first time in a while I have something new to be thankful for. Something that is truly, surprising. Instead of becoming grateful for something that I’ve had for a while I’m became, on this day, something new to be grateful for. 

I’m a valued, adult, decision-making member of my family. 

Duh, right? No. 

I’m no longer a kid who doesn’t need to know about the hardships and abuse that are the backdrop behind confusing actions. 

I’m now a person who’s opinion is requested and respected. Who can hold court, translate English to English, and mediate large scale arguments. 

It sounds small but it feels huge to me. 

To have a family that values the ideas of all its members and works together as a team would have been enough to be grateful for. And to be invited to sit at the grown-ups table and help perpetuate that inclusiveness, well it’s an even better present than the great socks I got.

This Just In: Family Makes Day Better

14 Oct

My grandmother is about to move up from Florida to be closer to the rest of our family.

And I am so happy about it.

Today I had the evening off and out of the blue I decided to call my aunt and uncle who she is staying with and casually ask what they were doing for dinner tonight. Within an hour I was on my way and eating a delicious home cooked meal with them. Talking about work and new pets and life. Putting down the very stressful day of work that I had had and instead talking about what great books everyone was reading, how my little cousin was the librarian’s special helper and was given the honor of scanning out the books for her classmates. What a respite from the rest of my life, what an escape. What good fortune.

There is a time for moving away from your family, for becoming your own person on your own terms and showing that their approval doesn’t make or break your life.

But there is also a time for recognizing that these people respect the decisions you’ve made and are in your corner cheering you on, excited to hear about it whenever you’re ready to talk and to make sure you have enough dishes.

Not everyone has a family like that, a built-in support system, not everyone is so lucky. But I am. And I’m going to be more grateful for it.

So Lucky

22 May

I am so lucky. I am so unbelievably insanely lucky.

Last night I got dinner with my aunt and uncle and talked with them and ate beets for 3 hours. And it was wonderful. We talked about books and when they first got married. 50 years of family history I know nothing about. We talked about their travels together as newlyweds. We talked about the horrific struggles they went through together. We talked about my dating life. We talked about my travels. We talked about Bobby Kennedy’s funeral.

I am so lucky to have them. To have a great family that I enjoy spending time with and who support me. Not everyone has that. I didn’t have it until I decided it was worth working for on my own.

Happy Esther Day 2013

3 Aug

Today is Esther Day.  Esther Day is the day when we tell people we love them.  People like friends and family (not romantic interests, that’s using Esther Day selfishly).  Today isn’t for telling someone you harbor a crush.  No, today is for telling the people close to you how much they mean to you, people like siblings, the people you don’t tell enough.  So send this to someone if you can’t do it yourself.

Make their Esther Day special.