“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.” Anais Nin
I came to a sudden realization this morning that I haven’t seen or spoken to my sister at all in over a year, my brother in over two years. My reaction wasn’t one of surprise or sadness, really just more matter of fact.
My family is, for lack of a better word, bizarre. On my mother’s side there is a lot of mental illness and addiction problems, and on my father’s side, more addiction and Latin stubbornness. My parents are both the more anti social ones of the bunch, and are happy to stay at home and gripe about the world around them. They are happy to have close family over, but never stray far from home themselves. I can count on one hand the number of times my mom has been to our new home, and on the same hand, I can count the number of times my dad has ever been to this home or our last one.
When my paternal grandmother was alive, she would have everyone gather together for parties and holidays. Everyone was welcome, everyone was family. Friends, neighbors, people she just met, all were welcome in her home and each one loved and respected the same. Her home was a happy one, filled with joy and love. When her husband, my grandfather died, the get togethers were designated to different homes, sometimes my parents, sometimes different uncles, but it was never the same. My parents complained when extra people showed up, if they weren’t immediate family, they had no business being there. I never understood this. As the years went by, the gatherings got smaller and smaller until it was just my parents and my siblings. The emptiness was sad, the holidays felt lonely.
As the years have passed, my parents have only become more and more alienated by their own petulance. With my brother still living at home with them, I can’t help but feel like their misanthropic tendencies have rubbed off on to him, and even my sister, who also lived with them for quite a bit longer than average.
My husband’s family is always together. As my mom once not so eloquently stated, “They throw a party every time someone farts.” Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, vacations, even just because. They are very tightly knit, something my grandmother strived for and something, while my mother may put on show to loathe, I can’t help but think she is secretly envious. Being crotchety is lonely work.
I miss my Grandma Ola and her ability to gather everyone together, grudges and work be damned. This is the woman who would make a friend for life by asking the stock person at the grocery store if they had any rocky road ice cream, her favorite flavor. They would point her in the direction and she would reply, “Oh no, I don’t need to buy any, just wondered if you had any. That’s my favorite.” Then somehow, this stock person would get invited over for dinner, or ice cream, or sweet tea, and just like that, they too were family.
I want my house to be like my Grandma Ola’s. I want everyone to feel welcome and at home. I want my friends to feel like family and to know that they are loved just as though they were. I hope as my children grow up and make friends and eventually date, (ack!), that their friends and dates feel equally comfortable in our home. All I want is love and happiness.
As we grow and become more of the people we are destined to be, sometimes it is without the people we grew up with. Our paths and circumstances take us all to different places, and it is in these times when our vision is refined and able to see surroundings for what they truly are. I am surrounded by my husband and my children and my furbabies in our wonderful new home. I have dear family and friends that I am fortunate to be blessed with and interact with on a regular basis. My siblings aren’t around, but they have their paths, and perhaps one day our paths will cross again. My door and heart are always open.