Monday, March 25, 2013

Our Families

When we're little, our families are our world.  They envelope us and we live in their environment.  If they love us, we're fortunate.  If not, the experience scars us.

I was lucky to have two parents who devoted themselves to their boys.  My parents had limitations but they did their best.  I respect them for that.  My mother and father considered raising children to be very important and they sacrificed for my brother and me.  Their generosity was real.

I assumed the four of us would live forever.  Sadly, my mother died young (in 1990 at age 54) and my brother also died young (in 1991 at age 33).  Both had unexpected medical conditions (breast cancer and congenital heart defect).  Their deaths came without warning and, in the space of a year, my family was cut in half.  Those events sharply disturbed my view of the universe.  What seemed stable was suddenly uncertain.  The fragility of life became much too manifest to me.

I know from your blogs that some of you have loving families you enjoy seeing.  A few of you were unlucky and have families you've fled.  Either way, our families affect us deeply.

I know this is a personal subject so if you don't want to talk about it, that's fine.  But if you are open to discussion, how are relations with your parents and siblings?  Do you see them often?  Does your mother still tell you how to dress?  Does your brother tease you?  Are your parents proud of you?


  1. I'm really close with my family and in the back of my head I always dread that day when we part Xo Megan,

  2. I like hearing about your family. Even though it was often rough, I still like hearing about the experiences that led to you being the person you are. I like stories, especially real ones.

    My mom and I have a long and harrowed story. One that currently runs with an arm's length friendship. She raised me as long as she could, it was frustrating that she wasn't able to be a mom as long as I needed one.

    Until last Christmas I hadn't seen my father in 15 years. We had stilted awkward conversation, an awkward hug, and an acknowledgement that we're both people, yes I'm an adult now, no I'm not mad at him, let's move on.

    My brother (half-brother on my dad's side, whole brother in heart) as I said in a previous comment is still one of my favorite people on this planet. We spent a very close young childhood together before he went back to his biological mom, and I didn't see him again until I was in my upper teens. We've gotten close again as adults because we're very similar people. We've also lived similar lives and understand our family dynamics in a way that nobody else can. We clash on some points, and are still getting to know each other again, but it's cool.

    My family has reached this point where we're all in the wind as to our opinions and our actions in life. We fight, we judge, we're separate in our own lives, but there is still an odd sense of family loyalty we all reserve, even if we can't all be in the same room without killing each other. ;P

    1. You made me laugh with the not killing each other - SO true in our family sometimes. We usually want to strangle Mum or Step-Teen. But we haven't so I think we're not homicidal maniacs, which is all good.

      You feel like a daughter or a little sister to me, so know that I love you and will always be there for you.

  3. I lost my great-uncle, my grandfather (mother's side), my dad (age 55) and my grandmother (mother's side) in less than 6 months in 1997 - it was a very rough year. My dad died of a heart attack less than 3 weeks after my grandfather, and my grandmother died a few months after.

    My family has always been rather distant. On my dad's side, I have a niece I haven't seen in several years (she's 15 years younger), and her mother, my dad's only sister. I haven't seen her in many years - she gives lip service to having good familial relationships, but never makes an effort.

    On my mom's side, I see my mom about once a month and talk to her every couple of weeks. I haven't seen my brother since...oh...July? He's got some bug in his bonnet that I don't spend enough time with his kids (4 kids from 3 different mothers, ages 18-3), so he's decided not to talk to me. My brother and mom (and all his kids) all live in my town, so it's mostly just holidays, that sort of thing. I see his two oldest girls a few times a year - I'm the closest with them.

    I'm really not that close with any of my family - my mom the most, I guess. We are much alike in that we save up stories, spend a very intense day together, get all the stories out, then don't talk for a while.

  4. I have always been close to my family, although we all live in different parts of the world. But, I'm more close to my younger sister and my parents now, than my brother. Family definitely affects us greatly! :)

  5. I am closer to my sister now that we don't share a room anymore, my brother is just as distant as ever. my mum and i argue way too much but because we are so alike, sometimes i realise that and try to make up for it. We all live in the same house so much of the time it is suffocating. I think I would have a better relationship with my mum if I lived away from her. My mum and sister do tend to still make fun of me by the way I dress or express myself which makes me react very negatively. My dad died when I was 12 and it split both sides of the family apart. I think that my siblings never got over it because they idolised him and my mum and I knew better. I was very angry at him but now I've forgiven him for being the person he was and I've moved on. We don't see his side of the family anymore, we cut off contact from them a couple of years after because they were pure poison. My mum's family lives in Israel which means we get their news second hand because we aren't there to join in with them. As a result, we are on our own and slowly drifting apart

  6. Family is such an interesting topic and often a personal one too, but I do enjoy hearing about families. I'm one of the lucky ones - I'm very close to my parents and see them every day, my mom does not work and lives close to my work, so we have lunch together. Many days my dad stops home as well. I'm an only child, so I think that helped us have a close and unique relationship.

    We have a good relationship with my husband's parents too but we don't see them quite as often. We can go weeks upon weeks without talking to his sister. They get along, but they just aren't that close.

    As I've gotten older, I do sometimes wish I had a sibling, because my parents are getting older and I will be the only one to deal with whatever may come, but for now I just take each day as is it comes, I'm thankful for their good health so far and I'm thankful for my relationship with them.

  7. I didn't come from ideal circumstances (after all who does?) but I will say that I've grown to ADORE mi mamacita. I consider her, and my favorite cousin Casey, my fam-fam. The rest I deal with. I am a terrible "family" person, as in I don't tolerate much anymore of crazy family bullshit, but I am devoted to my mom, and to my cousin. I wish I had more family I felt closer to, but I don't, and so many friends have become family to me. Friends are family you got to pick.

  8. THANKS FOR MAKING ME CRY. But really, this is a great post! I am glad that your parents took the time to take care of you, there are a lot of "breeders" out there.

    Honestly, my family drives me nuts but I still love them. I am the total black sheep in the family though. I am working converting Liam to the dark-side.

  9. Dad's an emotionally distant alcoholic. Mom's a neurotic hyper-critical hoarder. They do not tell each other (within our earshot) or us "I love you" or "I'm proud of you". They've been married for 45 years and I don't think I've ever seen them kiss! That said, my family of origin is remarkably functional in that if I have a show, they'll be there in the audience. If I need a place to stay, their door is open. They are a constant, and the family bond is non-negotiable.

    I consider myself moderately close to my siblings, but we don't even talk every week. But same deal applies. Somebody needs a kidney, I'll be on a table. Come hell or high water, in the end we may be all we've got.

  10. My family is weird. I talk to my mom about once a week and she is always complaining to others that i do not call her. Our relationship just is. We've never been close.
    Same with my brothers. Cousins and uncles i only see for birthdays or holidays.

  11. this is very interesting for me to comment about considering i recently had to move back home at 25 following a divorce. my brother is only three years younger and still lives at him in the bedroom next to mine, we can go weeks without talking. since moving back i've become even more distant than i was before from my family. i left as soon as i could at 17 because my situation here was not ideal.

    now the person i deal the most with is my dad because he gives me rides when i need them. it's better for my mental health to keep things distanced. as far as extended family i do not have any who we talk to. my friends and darling puppy cooper are my family.

    sounds like you were lucky to get a good family!

    <3 katya

  12. My friends are my family. It's important to feel safe, which I don't feel with my birth family. Now there's some self disclosure for you!

  13. Oh my goodness. I did not know. I couldn't even imagine what a difficult that time that was for you and your father to loose your mom and your brother at such early ages. As I know you know from all the photos I post on my blog that we are a ridiculous family using any significant (or not so significant) even as an opportunity to get together. Even though both my parents are divorced twice and my Mom is on her third husband and both my husband and I are on our second marriages we somehow live a harmonious life with all our ex's involved. It freaks people out but it is just the way we are. We are even close to my dad's two previous ex girlfriends too. We can't seem to part from people once they have entered our lives. I value my dear friends the same way though. I couldn't imagine life without them either. So when people say 'friends and family' always in the same breath that totally applies to me.

  14. Hugs, Ally, we're your family, too.

    Hmmmm, succinct summary of family relations: Hubby is my best friend, The Costume Technician is great fun when we're together, The Teen is a joy, and The Step-Teen is struggling but also letting us see her better side more often. Mom? Hehe. We call her Mommy Dearest. Not joking. Daddy? IQ so high that relating to peeps is hard, but I love him and would like to know him better.

  15. Good question! I am sorry for your early loss of such precious family. I speak to my Mum a couple of days a week and my Dad less so, just because we don't get around to it (usually I call him. He's busy) and I chat to my sister fairly often- she knows me better than anyone in the world. I have a half-sister too, she's sweet if a little high maintenance!x

  16. I can't imagine how it is to lose half your family like that. Certainly not something I expect and for which I would not be prepared.
    I think my brother and I changed my parents views when we were younger and as a whole we all grew from it. I come from a very religious family but when my brother and I were in our teens we did pretty much everything we could to challenge some beliefs and views my parents held. They are far more open minded today than many of their peers and in turn I think I for one learned a lot about acceptance.

  17. Wow...must think about these questions and really ponder them because I wish I was closer to my family...all of them...

  18. What an intimate and touching post, Ally, thank you for sharing about your family and the heartbreaking losses of your mother and brother with us. I come from a very dysfunctional family (and will leave at that for now - lest I go off on a long winded autobiographical kind of spiel), but there were positive people and experience throughout and I'm often struck by the duality (good vs bad) of my upbringing.

    ♥ Jessica

  19. i'm not as close as some ppl are with their families.