I have been rolling this topic around in my mind knowing that if I chose to write about it I would probably have to be very cautious because I do not really want to offend folks.
Everyone has different family dynamics and often times, the “family” is not blood relations, but people that we chose as family in addition, or replacing, those kin folk we were born into.
My own original family was pretty basic.
Mother, father, daughter and son.
We had grandparents, great-grandparents, uncle, aunt, cousin, and many great aunts, great-uncles and cousins.
I have one son as does my brother.
I think they are “trying” for more children, well maybe one more, but my baby making days are done.
It’s sad sometimes to think I can’t have anymore and add to our family legacy, but also it can be a relief to not have to worry with it. If I get all crazy and want another child, I can adopt!
We are all pretty close, even though I don’t get to see my uncle, aunt and cousin and some family often as I would like as distance does separate us and schedules can be hard to coordinate. It doesn’t mean I don’t think of them often and still miss them.
I am close with my mom, brother and sister-in-law and we all live within 20 or so miles from each other so we do gather together on a semi-regular basis.
My son calls his cousin his “baby brother” since he is the eldest. They are the same age apart as my brother and I which is 3 ½ years.
Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of cousins and relatives I never see. I do not even know where some of them live or if they are still living.
It isn’t, that I know of, because of a family feud, but due to circumstance of just not being in each other’s life and growing apart.
My father’s father had one sister and she didn’t have children.
His mother was one of 12 children so I do have lots of cousins on that side.
My mother’s father had 2 sisters as did her mother.
I do see some of my cousins from one side but not the other.
I do not know anyone that doesn’t have some type of family drama somewhere in their trees!
They may not tell you or bring it out in the open, but I guarantee someone in everyone’s family has some type of drama!
Growing up I was fortunate I had 2 sets of grandparents and 3 great-grandmothers. It wasn’t until I was older and learned that not everyone has that family and not everyone was close to family they did have.
I am so fortunate to have so many cousins scattered around that I still am in touch with!
Though I wish I could see them more and spend time with them I am grateful for the opportunity to still be in contact, or reconnect with them.
I will admit there are a few that I have no idea what has happened to them nor does anyone else.
One cousin seems to have dropped off the face of the planet. Seriously.
It seems at times the only time I ever even see certain relatives is at weddings and funerals.
That’s pretty sad when you think about it but also, it may not be by your choice, but theirs or another relative.
I am fascinated with family dynamics.
I have friends who are twins who have an older brother.
Their parents divorced and their father remarried.
They have not only half brothers and sisters from them, but also found out their father spread his seed a bit more and have many half brothers and sisters.
I must say they have taken it quite well to find out they have half siblings the same age as them and to, for the most part, get to know several of them.
I can’t imagine finding other siblings when I was older and how I would react to that!
I have worked in assisted livings and as a caregiver for families.
It is so interesting to see who steps up during a medical crisis and who is nowhere to be found.
I know in my own family, no matter what is going on or who is not happy with each other, when a medical crisis arises, we are all there.
For me I could not imagine Not being there.
But I have realized throughout this life not everyone feels the same.
One lady I used to care for, “Miss Jane” (*names changed to protect the living), had 3 children. I never saw the children who lived in town but every few months. Then for only a brief period of time.
However her son who had moved to another country, would make the trek yearly to visit his mother and stayed at least a month. The majority of his time would be spent with his mother.
This lady had other relatives, however, during her life she wasn’t always so nice. She was diagnosed with dementia and after her husband died, was placed in an assisted living facility.
This was where I met her as I worked at the facility.
I met so many people whose family dynamics were fascinating to me to watch.
At times, it was also very sad as in the case of Miss Jane.
Here was a lady who had wealth beyond comprehension and yet her only visitors was a few times a year with random family coming to visit.
Only her one son who lived thousands of miles away came with any regularity and that was just once a year.
Another lady, “Miss Carmen”, had no children and only a niece. She had moved from Florida so her niece could care for her at our facility.
Her niece, Betty, came several times a week and always worried when she would go out of town that Carmen would need something and she wouldn’t be there.
Here Betty was worrying about how Carmen would miss her, knowing she had dementia and that prior to her moving her close did not see her aunt regularly due to distance but always talked on the phone.
She cared enough to go to her home when Carmen’s husband died and pay attention to her situation to see that she needed to step in and help.
And Jane’s “guardians” would have to be contacted when she needed new clothes because they didn’t see her on a regular basis.
Of course now we have instant access to the internet and being able to call, text or send a message on Facebook to get in touch with relatives far and wide.
However I still have to look at Jane and Carmen.
In my humble opinion, it seems that once some people get older, or aren’t as “nice” all the time, family members and even friends just stop coming around.
I did find out in Miss Jane’s case there were many friends who didn’t know where she was.
The two children who lived closer made a decision to not tell anyone because of her “condition”. Her son who lived far away rectified that after a visit and I was happy to see her have visitors.
We are all human and need the companionship and touch of others.
It does make a difference.
I understand some people chose to cut themselves off from their family and friends.
That is their choice.
But for so many, that choice is taken from them in many different ways due to their family dynamics.
I guess you can call me lucky and blessed because in my own life, I have not only my family, but a large collection of friends as well.
I know that they can send out an SOS and if I can’t be there in person, I am there for them in spirit and let them know.
Because if you don’t let people know you’re thinking about them, you care and you will do whatever you are able to do they don’t know that for sure.
You can’t assume they know.
You have to tell them.
So reach out to that random family member/friend that’s been on your mind.
Call, text, email, send a message to them just do it.
We never know how much time we have left.
We never know if that brief “hello I miss you” may be what they need to get through their day.
Always Keep Hope Alive.
I hope you all have a fabulously graceless Monday my friends!