Sunday, February 5, 2017

Family

What is a Family?
When I think about family, it means all sorts of different things to me.  I left home at 18 and lived a long way away from my nuclear family.  Although I kept in constant contact with my mum and dad, who were a great support to me, I needed more than that.  I needed to find people close by who loved me and would be "on hand" so to speak when I needed them - up close and personal.

Initially I sought out Aunties and Uncles, cousins, and made special friends. These people were my family. When I ventured away from the halls of residence, where may I say, those people had become my family by then - I started meeting neighbours, people at work and building networks around me.  This practise has continued through my life and I have had some wonderful neighbours and friends which I consider part of my family still.

When I had young children, and my parents were still very far away, I needed more help - the kind a young mum needs. I would have loved my mum to be close by, but she wasn't.  I found a couple of lovely older women, who supported me as a mother would.  One of them had actually been a friend of my mother's when I had been a baby, so that friend was particularly special.  I considered them part of my family.

Having moved a few times over the years, I have strongly valued the importance of building a supportive network around me.  These people have not been part of my original nuclear family, but have been a very important part of my life.  When my children were young, I totally agreed that:
"It takes a village to raise a child"

Now my father is no longer with us and I am lucky enough to have my mother close by.  My 2 sisters don't see eye to eye, so what does that mean for my family? 
 
I met with my daughter yesterday for the first time in over a year.  We had a milkshake together and talked. Then she said that she no longer had a family and her life was going to be bad forever.
I did point out that she was well, healthy, lived independently, had a job, had a career underway at uni, had a boyfriend, had money in the bank, had a mum and a dad, 2 brothers, a Granny, a Nana and Opa, LOTS of Aunties and Uncles, cousins and friends.  From my side of the table, her life was looking pretty good.
Yes, our nuclear family has been broken - but it's still there and always will be. It just looks different from what I first imagined it to be.
Families come in all shapes and sizes - she's 19 and has very strong ideas of what is right and what is wrong.
When I asked her if I'd see her again . . . she said
". . . maybe . . ."
Parenting is hard!
I need help from the Village
 
 

11 comments:

Nikki said...

Big hugs to you, Annie. And yes - I'm a big believer in the village community as part of the extended family. I hope that your girl sees the love that is around her soon, and that you feel loved and supported.

Frog Quilter said...

I understand your delemma. My youngest didn't speak for four years over a request for money (which I denied). Consequently I didn't see my grand daughter in that time frame. About broke my heart. Now years later, we have become friends. Maturity has set in. A big factor was the loss of his brother, my oldest son. Be patient as it will take time. Hugs.

Patsy said...

Youth just see the world different today then
we did. Some how they believe our generation
was all wrong in how we cherish family. This
Social justice being taught our youth is taking
the place of family.

Elaine/Muddling Through said...

Most young people think of themselves first and foremost - how every situation impacts them. I know I was a miserably selfish beast when I was young. It WILL change as she grows older. You've given her wise words, a grand example of carrying on through it all and a healthy start in life. Trust in how you raised her. And be patient. It will change with time.

blandina said...

I have a similar situation with one of my daughters, we do not meet often and when we do there is a lot of tension. Maybe when our daughters will have children of their own, they will understand how difficult it's is to be a parent and how deep is a mother's love.

Anonymous said...

trust me.
when she starts to reproduce she will be glad to see you.
cheers jan

Anonymous said...

hugs, manda.

Jan said...

I'm so cross with your girl, Annie! She's being so unfair to you and you really don't deserve that. And she's hurting herself too, and just doesn't seem to realise it. Sending you big hugs, my gorgeous friend. Xx

Anonymous said...

Annie,
Very happy to hear that you've had contact with your daughter. Our children are often our greatest treasure and we can't bear to think of losing them. It's wonderful to also hear you have a new partner and had a lovely holiday in New Zealand with your mum and partner.

I lost my mother when I was a young teenager and it was only when I had my own children that I realised how much I needed amd missed her. So many questions can never be answered or shared. Hopefully your daughter will gradually realise what a special mum she has. With maturity, again hopefully, your relationship can be renewed and feelings/ ideas / beliefs also shared. It is incredibly difficult but Stay your positive self, give her time, she may surprise you
Good luck, Kate

Huong Nguyen said...

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Pandoraflora said...

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