Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - "Family"

Family has come to mean different things to me as I have grown. I grew up in a "normal" family in the 60's and 70's with a mother, father, younger brother and my maternal grandparents. Both parents worked and we joined the generation of latch key kids that were exposed to way too much TV. There was not a lot of communication or affection but I felt we were a typical middle class family. Material things were important and a spanking was still acceptably the norm. We were not the "Cleavers" but we took family vacations, ate together and my brother and I fought like normal siblings. Being the oldest and female I had extra responsibilities, like housework, and stricter boundaries but it was a stable family.

Once I had my own family I wanted to do better but I ended up following similar patterns of my own upbringing. I craved affection yet I had to learn to give and receive it. In my search for romance and affection I married with eyes wide shut. I had married into a HUGE Latin family and that was a big change coming from a small family. Even though I had no choice I chose to work. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom because I felt I could do both like my mom did. I had always wanted a bigger family growing up but my first marriage made me re-think that. Large families can be fun but the grass is not always greener on the other side. My marriage did not last but my two little girls were wonderful additions to my new version of family.

My parents divorced after twenty two years of marriage and my mom drown about six years later. My grandmother died of cancer and grandpa of dementia soon after my ALS diagnosis. My family was fading away when I needed them most but I discovered a new kind of family.
I learned that friends can become a part of your family but I had to put aside my pride and receive. Reaching out was so contrary to my personality but it became a necessity. I was rewarded with beautiful friends and given a second chance at love with Dave. Who says you can't pick your family? My definition of family has evolved through my own experiences and I'm truly grateful for the people in my life who love me.

Photo is StockXpert

26 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

We are ever so hard to ourselves. But life is not as complicated as we think, is it not?

Glad you see beauty in it each day of your life and show us too! Thanks.

kindred

trailbee said...

I have "Prusssian roots" and we did not touch, showed little affection.I changed that when I married, and made sure my children touch and hug - especially my grown son, when he says good-bye to his dad in some parking lot! My opinion? Nothing beats love and being able to show it.Makes the sun shine.

Remiman said...

Tammy,
I'm glad you put aside our pride, 'cause you have too much to share!
Choosing a family is quite satisfying. The support network is what is all important to a fuller life.
rel

giggles said...

Beautifully written and I agree that your family can often be those you choose! So glad you have happiness and love! A mirror of who you are!

Some of my life is parallel to yours!

Hugs Sherrie

Lilibeth said...

Your story is true for many people. I'm glad you found people to love, because you have much to share.

myrtle beached whale said...

The truth is that we can pick our friends but not our family.

emmapeelDallas said...

I so agree with what you've written. I've picked much of my family, and I treasure them in addition to my birth family.

Good post.

Judi

TJ said...

Hugs...sister.
Love TJ

anthonynorth said...

Definitions change, certainly, but as long as there is strength at the centre, it's okay.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I liked reading your perspective on how families change as we age, its true for all of us, but many of us possibly don't really think about it...

susiej said...

This is so true, like a river, our families and our perception of it does change.

paris parfait said...

I really agree that friends can be one's family - often a better family member than our biological ones! Hey, 'sis, did you get my email about the BlogHer conference in San Fran July 18-20th? It seemed to bounce back; will try to re-send. xoxox

Jennifer Hicks said...

Chosen families often bloom when we need them most - I found mine during my rendezvous with mental illness and depend on them to keep me grounded.

pepektheassassin said...

GReat post, and, that is a nice family photo: you look beautiful, and Dave is sooo handsome (although you are both thinner than I remember!).

Mary Beth said...

This is so true! Our family dynamics change as we get older, even if the members stay the same. But our friends can become a second family, especially if the first begins to fall apart. It's a credit to you that you get comfort from them - because you are open to it and because they care enough to extend it.

Mary Beth said...

This is so true! Our family dynamics change as we get older, even if the members stay the same. But our friends can become a second family, especially if the first begins to fall apart. It's a credit to you that you get comfort from them - because you are open to it and because they care enough to extend it.

Lucy said...

thank goodness for good friends! they ARE like family to me too. My kids were pretty old before they realized "aunt" Mare and 'uncle' Tom were not actually relatives!
beautifully expressed as always Miss Tammy! ♥

khambagirl said...

Hi Tammy, many of my friends are closer than my family of origin. You seem to always share such good insight into things -- like seeing how your family evolves over time. Hugs, Bonnie

Star said...

I came from a small family too and am still trying to learn to be more open to friendships, for they are more precious than family at times.

Devil Mood said...

I'm happy that eventually you got the change and the wiseness to pick your own family, made from people you love and love you. Family is not just blood relationships, of course.

Amber said...

Oh, trust me. You CAN pick your family. I think the people we pick are sometimes our "soul family", people here to help us become who we came here to be.

:)

Eileen said...

Tammy I could not agree with this more. You can pick your family. The definition of family has changed. I know I consider so many of my wonderful friends, as close as my family. I have no family living near me, and my friends come through time and time again, when I need them, in the good and bad times.
XOXOXO

forgetfulone said...

Believe me - I know you can pick your family! I enjoyed your post.

daisies said...

i love how many versions of family there are and yet still filled with love and care. i love my all the families that i am a part of :)

xo

tinker said...

You are so right, my friend. Through 'blood or marriage' aren't the only kinds of family - some of the most loved 'members' are those connected to us through our hearts, technically not our kin - but they are kindred souls, our 'tribe' of choice, not chance.
XOXO

bella said...

Thank-you for this post.
It resonated with me.
I come from a big family, and I will have an only child. Neither is "better", but different I suppose.
And Todd and I have found that for us, friends are our family, our chosen family. We create our tribe.
It feels like a mix and match set of dishes, each on a little different, all of them welcome at the table.