Saturday, 26 April 2014

The Art of Family

This is a post that most likely cause me some comments and possibly some back lash but I need to get some of this off my chest.

To those that know me know that family (both blood and non) mean everything to me.  I would drop many things in my life to help out a family member or a close friend.  I have the most incredible sisters in my life that would and have dropped everything for me in a crisis, without them I would certainly be lost, so lost.

My father is ill, his health has been failing for some time now and it is all consuming to me at times when I think that I could lose him.  We did a last minute trip out to the West Coast for Easter to see him and my Sisters (niece and nephew).  We did essentially 3 days of travel total for a 5 day trip.  Was it nuts? Yes.  Was it worth it? So worth it. My original (insane) plan was to drive out myself with just the big boys and go for the 5 days.  The thing was that the thought of leaving B behind (and me not being in control) was just too much to bear.  So my darling husband did the next to impossible and took 5 days off work...5 days, that's love.  We all went and it was what we needed, as a family and for our family.  We even managed a whole 4 hours of an Easter dinner with my hubby's side of the family too.  Would they have been hurt if we couldn't have fit them in, I would think yes but would they have understood (as the reason for the trip wasn't for pleasure per se), yes I think that they would have.  Forgiveness is key in any relationship, big or small.


What I find shocking and what has been stuck in my craw, is the fact in this digital age of relationships that we can just silently 'cut' someone out of our lives with one click of a mouse.  No regrets. Piss me off?  Buh-bye from my life.  Wow. 

Now I'm not the easiest person to get along with all the time (my close family and friends will contest to this I'm sure!) but I try.  I try to be the person my parents raised me to be, kind and understanding.  So when a family member deleted me as a 'friend' on her Facebook page because I upset her with a comment it shocked me and hurt me to no end.  I've been told that I need to get a tougher skin and I know that but I would expect that from a stranger or even someone who was not a big part of my life, but from family, no, not even for a second.

I know fully that I'm not 100% in the right in this scenario. I could have gone about my comment differently but I thought that I was doing it in a way that was non-confrontational and was not in any way trying to hurt or offend anyone.  What I commented on was a response to someone posting on a comment about the weather and that "We must all be R3t3rd3d (I HATE this word) to think that..." yadda yadda yadda.  My comment just simply addressed the fact that as a Mom with two special needs kids a different choice of word could have been used. 

I tried to avoid commenting on it (the R word), I tried but the fact is that I'm an advocate for my children and they don't have their own voices yet to tell the world it's not okay to address anyone this way let alone those with extra needs.  I was trying to point out that the word is offensive without being offensive myself and I even had a wonderful conversation with the woman who made the comment.  She and I chatted a bit and she apologized (as did I because I didn't mean for her to feel badly) and agreed that it wasn't a great word to use.  I was proud of myself!  I thought I did a good thing. 

Apparently not.

I managed to inadvertently "humiliate" and "disrespect" both the woman who made the comment and my family member (according to the family member).  Not what I set out to do but apparently what I managed. 

Was I wrong to speak my mind?  I don't think so because without people standing up for what is right then there will never be a reason to change.  Should I have sought out the woman who made the comment and tried to message her in private, I suppose that would have been a better choice (but I also think that I would have had backlash from that as well).  So, delete, I'm not no longer a part of her

I cried when I found out that she'd actually taken me off as a 'friend' because I went out of my way to reach out to her, to apologize.  What my upbringing didn't prepare me for was that family could be so cold, so unforgiving.

I would have appreciated and expected a conversation as two adults (I think I qualify by now at 39). 

What it has led me to realize is that in our society, I've seen it time and time again, that we tend to treat our 'family' worse then we treat our friends.  Why is that?  Why is that acceptable?  I know people that no longer talk to family members and I get it, there is usually a VERY good, sound reason for it.  But in the digital age when you 'unfriend' someone it sends a pretty loud message as well.  What pisses me off (well one of a few things) is that I generally don't care what people think of me but apparently I care a great deal about what my flesh and blood think of me.

Rylan asked me the other day 'if I heard the story about the boy that ran away from his Mom and almost died because of it'...(those times when you don't think they are listening).  It was a story that the radio personalities were talking about, a 16 yr old ran away because he was upset with his parents. He hid in a planes wheel well and somehow (after going into a hypothermic state) survived a five hour flight to Hawaii.  Rylan was so upset that anyone would be crazy enough to leave their Mom behind, their MOM!  I tried to gently explain to him that he to will find a time when he doesn't agree with my choices as his parent.  I love that at 7 he still finds this impossible to grasp but I know all too well that the day will come.

I am trying my hardest, in combination with my husband, to raise three polite, respectful and kind human beings.  I would jump in front of a train for any of them in a heart beat.  My children and my family are my life, they are why I get out of bed each and every day.  I can't imagine a day when I would just cut a family member out of my life without a second thought.  I may not be the best person at confrontation or even solving all of my 'problems' but I would hope to hell that I would at least try.

What is the purpose of this post?  Maybe I need to find closure from this hurt (as I can't just 'let it go' as I've been told to do) and maybe, just maybe someone who reads it will think about how important their family is to them and will do something different.  Maybe someone will pick up a phone and talk to someone that misses them. Maybe someone will take the time to do something special for someone special in their lives (just because).

Life is far too short.  Far. Too. Short. To short to live with any anger, resentment or without forgiveness (my door is always open to her when she is ready).

An update on B is coming soon, promise! :)

From Our Home To Yours...


Anonymous said...

I have been following B's story for a while and keep up with him. I don't think I have ever commented. But I have to say that I completely agree with you. We can just tape a button and BOOM no more contact. I have been hurt like this from family twice over advocating for my son who has early onset childhood mental illness. He is considered special needs. It is just invisible. My heart goes out to you and I pray that your family member will resolve this soon. Staying angry is never good.

Mobee said...

What it comes down to in the end is that you can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. If you are lucky, the family that you are born into is generous, forgiving, and supportive all the time, not just when the road is smooth, but when it gets rocky as well. I know you can't 'let it go' (it would piss me off too). I guess the only thing to do is keeping doing what you do best - advocating for your kids. If that annoys others (whether they are related to you by blood or not) send out loving thoughts to them and realize that, in time, they will come to know the error of their ways.