Hang on to your seats because I need to purge. Sorry, in advance, for the darkness, but I swear there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Call me crazy (you wouldn't be the first), but I think there should be some sort of natural flow to a family. I think the older folks should act like the older folks - mature, caring, concerned, sharing...
There's been a huge shift in my family for some time now. I guess it's not as much in my family as the way I view them and the tolerance I have for their non-traditional roles.
My mom is a drunk. She has been for a long time now. Why not? She comes from a long line of them herself - on both sides of her family. Her dad, her mom's dad, several uncles, etc. etc. Her brother is the same (although he is, at least, nice).
My biological father has never had anything to do with me, although I will give him the credit of saying that he tried. There was a phone call. It took about 30 seconds of that to figure out he, too, is a drunk. Didn't pursue that little relationship as there are plenty of alcoholics in my life already.
My adopted dad is... Well, maybe the most bitchy and judgemental person you have ever met in your life. Has not a kind word for me, my step sisters, my step mother or a stranger and seldom for his grandchildren- is only nice to his friends.
Last week was tough for me. Last week I got into an argument with my mom's mom who I had long ago deemed about the only sane person in my family. She has done a LOT for me in my life and she's about the only one (friends aside - I have the BEST friends). But family-wise, gramma was it. As I said, there's been a dramatic change in the way I view my family. Sort of a letting go of them so that I could purge my life of the negativity. It's what I need. I've begun to see them as a sort of cancerous growth - one on the surface that just needs to be lopped off so that the rest of me can be truly healthy. Gramma was the last hold out - the one who, in my mind, was the good one. I had to be honest with myself after the argument - she HAS done a lot of good things for me in my life. That does not mean she IS good for me. She is the single most negative person you will ever meet. Behold the conversation that took place, causing our argument, causing the light to come on above my head pointing out that this conversation was the same as ALL our conversations:
I called her and -
Hi Gramma! I just wanted to make sure you knew our trip to Eureka Springs was next weekend and not this one.
Yes, of course I realize that. What time are you meeting me?
6:30 on Friday.
Okay, so 6:00 on Friday at Wal-Mart?
No, 6:30 on Friday. I don't get off work until 6:00.
Oh, okay. Are we taking my car?
Sure, I know you don't like to leave it parked like that.
Oh, good! So 6:00 on Friday. (are you starting to see why I might have thought she would be confused about which weekend?)
No gramma, 6:30 - maybe you better write it down.
Okay. I guess I'll have to make this call a short one because (in the most horrible and sarcastic voice you could imagine) I have to go to Cletas for a Birthday Party...
(trying to ignore the horrible attitude) Oh, cool! What did you get her?
A stupid yard ornament. She likes those horrible things, has at LEAST 4 of them in her front yard. I suppose she'll like it, but if she doesn't, it's not my problem. They're always inviting me to stupid birthday parties and stupid Christmas parties. And ALL they EVER give you is candles! Candles for your birthday, candles for Christmas. Who wants all those damned candles!? It's ridiculous!
-Please remember that this conversation is a replica of ALL conversations with her, no matter what the subject. This is where I just sorta lost it and said: Gramma, you know if you go on this trip with me we are NOT bitching about everything, we are NOT discussing family or ALL of the things you DON'T like.
Of course I know that! All you people think that everytime I open my mouth, I'm bitching about something.
Because it's TRUE!
And then she started to cry. Great. I made my gramma cry. I felt like a horrible piece of shit for two days. Like I had a bowling ball in my stomach.
And then I realized: I am sad that I do not have a traditional family. I am sad that I don't and never have had a mom or a grandma to run to with my troubles or to sit and talk happily with. An elder woman who would hug me and teach me. I see that grandmotherly person in my mind - someone to sit and talk quietly with over a cup of coffee or to teach me about gardening or sewing or the many wonderful gifts of knowledge women that age have. But for a long time now, I have been confusing that picture in my mind with what I really have been given. And they are not the same. Nor will they ever be.
So, it does not follow the natural scheme of things that I should become the matriarch of my family in my mid-thirties, but I have already waited too long for changes that will not come.
From this day forward, my family starts with me. I AM that momma that my son can come to for advice or hugs or conversation or sympathy. I WILL BE that gramma and hopefully live long enough to be that great-gramma. I AM that friend. I am blessed with: wonderful friends who have wonderful families who love and accept me the way I am - even love me for it. I am blessed with a strong, sensible husband who, I believe, is as thankful for having found me as I am for finding him. I am blessed with a talented, intelligent, independent son who I am certain will be a wonderful adult. I. AM. BLESSED. I. AM. THANKFUL. I. AM. MOVING. ON.