Outside the Circle
I feel like I barely know a lot of my family, and today was a day that emphasized that in so many ways. The things I would swear “matter” are not the things I’m actually working to be a part of, or introduce my boys to. I could tell you that family is the most important thing to me and in a way it is 100% true. I love my little immediate family. I’m fairly close to my only full sister. I occasionally try to reach out to my half-sister. But go outside of that little circle, and I am uncomfortable, vulnerable I think. My kids barely know other family members, they have met most of their
I didn’t enjoy family functions even when I was a kid. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I enjoyed functions with my mom’s side of the family. There weren’t many but I felt comfortable there, in the home grandparents had lived in ever since I could remember, the one they moved into when grandma finally convinced grandpa that it was time to leave the farm and go into town. But my dad’s side of the family was….different. There was always a lot more alcohol for one. And while I happily joke about needing a glass of wine or something after a long, crazy day, the truth is, I actually am afraid of alcohol after what I saw during my childhood. I learned how easily wanting a glass of alcohol turns into a life ravaged by alcoholism. And I saw as a child, and I continue to see now, as an adult, how many people in my family have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. And I’ve had dark days where I wondered what it would be like to be that kind of person who let alcohol, temporarily obviously, numb your brain and your heart. Fortunately I turned to chocolate instead – just as many empty calories, far fewer opportunities for destroying your life.
Anyway, today I faced a family outing celebrating someone’s birthday. I wished them well and then ran away pretty darn fast. I want my boys to feel the experience of extended family, but not today. And not when there’s a lot of drinking going on. There has to be a better way, right?