(Today's post is kind of long and disjointed, got a lot on my mind--troubles and hopes.)
We had a family get together yesterday with my husband's side of the family. It's a annual thing that we're trying to turn into a family tradition, giving the cousins a chance to play and bond. Hubby's idea. It's a great idea, especially since we're all spread out. Holidays and birthday's aren't enough, nor are they always guaranteed. I only get to see my mom's side of the family maybe 3 times a year? I see my niece even less than that. We hope to not have them grow apart or just not know each other.
Seeing all of the kids playing was nostalgic, took me back to that age of playing with my cousins, too. Looking through the albums, we have these same photographs, too. From baby to toddler to kid group pictures taken yearly. But the photos stop around pre-teen years. Then would pick up in our later adult years...but some would be missing.
It's something that you can't really control, though, is it? Only hope for.
I'm the youngest on my dad's side, so there's lot of older cousins who I don't know...although Facebook has helped reconnect some of us. There's other cousins that I used to be super close with, and life happened, and we're just not anymore. I know that we'd like to get to know each other again, but it's just awkward and weird, ya know?
It's like me and my brother, it's more like an acquaintance relationship. If that makes sense.
I'm going through a lot of changes, family-wise. I'm distancing myself from my abusive father, which has put strains on relationships with other members from that side. Some have unfriended me, I've unfriended others on Facebook, cut ties with them. Really, the only people that I communicate with anymore are my cousins....not even my brother or SIL, really. But I'm also distrustful of them, for fear that they're spying on me for my father, as an aunt has proven this betrayal by digging around my public record. (just because you can, doesn't mean you should)
We used to be so close...
Then my mom's side of the family, they used to be spread out, too, until my grandma died, and they started coming back together...then drama ensued between me, my husband, and an uncle. The drama concerning my dad has put a strain on my brother and I's relationship (not that we were ever really close) and I've learned of a side of him that breaks my heart, which makes the few family gatherings we attend awkward. Moreso than before. We greet each other, hug, then avoid. That's a whole nother can of badgers, though.
For as rare as those gatherings were, I still loved and looked forward to them. Never missed these gatherings, because who knows when I'd see them all again?
Same with my step dad's side of the family. I was molested by a step cousin and the family swept it under the rug... Betrayal, I felt. The cousins whom I was really close with...just one night, one cut of the thread was all it took. Not that I'm blamed for anything, they dealt their own justice for the crime, but it's messy. Secrets were kept. I just couldn't look at the adults the same way again. I couldn't trust them. Nor did I want to see that pig again, either. His crime was hidden from his siblings, cousins, and my step brother. I became the black sheep, instead of him. Maybe because I wasn't blood? Who knows?
It's just awkward. Be it my mom's side, my dad's side, or my step dad's side, we all used to be so close. I've tried over the years to reconnect, as family is very important to me. I've learned to put some differences aside and tolerate and accept certain behaviors and opinions for the sake of family. Also learned how to let go of the toxicity...and learned painful lessons that doing so doesn't just affect one relationship.
Now, I'm turning more to my husband's side of the family. Now that his middle brother is divorced, he's way more pleasant to be around (and now that his son is in school and out of that unhealthy environment, he's more well behaved, too!).
I'm on anxiety medication, so I know that's been an improvement for me, too. But now they know what my problem is, a fraction anyway. They actually like being around me, now, too. I'm also more social. There's a clear difference between medicated me and non-medicated me when I'm around all of that chaotic kid energy.
Like yesterday, nothing upset me. I was so chill...until my medication wore off, then the anxiety came back, I kept thinking about the worse possible things happening to my kids and the stairs. I was almost crippled by it. I was stressed, snappy, and bitchy. I saw these negative behaviors, and stepped back from the group, which made me look anti-social. But just told em, look my meds have worn off. I didn't think that we'd be here this long so I didn't bring my second dose. They understood, gave me my space.
Back to family relationships, there's also that married thing. Like I adore my other BIL's wife, but I just don't think they're going to last. Every time we see them, they have some type of argument. They're both young, and my BIL is immature and selfish. But then I only see a fraction of their life. I adore her and would like to get to know her more, but what if things don't work out? She'll be another Jen. Jen being my brother's ex-wife. I loved her and her family...but my brother ruined that marriage. In the end, it was for the best, since they're both happily remarried, but it sucks. Getting to know the spouse, then have things not work on, and a friendship fractured.
Adult life. Ever changing.
Welcome to it.
Same goes for me. What if things between my husband and I don't work out? There's another whole family to lose. More strain and stress. I don't want my kids to have to suffer from that drama. But if it happens, it happens. Just gotta remember the kids, so one doesn't devolve and behave like an animal, because it's the kids who suffer the most, I think.
For now, while everything's good, we're having this yearly family get togethers for the cousins, and for the adults. So they can bond and play. Enjoy being kids with kid drama. Hopefully, they grow up together and still be friends and family as adults, too. My husband was super close with his cousins too, and the only major thing that caused them to grow a part was distance. No one seemed to go out of their way so the cousins could bond, except when ones's supposed to: holidays, birthday, funerals, and such.
But who knows? We're enjoying their joy for now, though. Ya never know.
Cherish the now. Don't take anything or anyone for granted.