Friday, November 19, 2010

Dusting off the old box

So I'm seeing a counselor.  It's not a bad thing, really.  I actually like to go every month to chat.  I mean, I'm a social worker and being a counselor is what I do.  So why shouldn't I have some time to be on the receiving end of things for a change?  Lately, the conversations have been about my family (actually, they're usually about my family).  But getting married brings up lots of things that I'd like to think I've resolved, put away in a nice box wrapped snuggly in pretty tissue, never to come out again.  Normally, 6 out of 7 days, the box stays put.  My life is good, healthy, happy. But now that I'm getting married I find myself dealing with my box of old family stuff.

I never pretend or claim that I have a typical, functional family.  I think most of my friends know otherwise.  So it's no surprise that I've tried to live the last 14 years of my life in the healthiest way possible.  That means finding some distance between certain members in my family.  It's not a surprise that my dad said he won't come to the wedding and that my sister has a list of all the things I should do to make things better, or my mom calls and tells if that if only I say "I'm sorry" things will be better.  Those are all the things that I knew would come up when I told them I was getting married and I wanted them to be a part of it somehow.

This week, I had a conversation with one of my sisters that went something like this:

Sister:  "So, Thanksgiving is at our house this year."
Me:  "That's great.  We'll bring a side dish to share with everyone."
Sister:  "WE?  Who's 'we'?  You're not bringing Mr. C are you?"
Me:  "Yes, of course I am.  He's my fiance.  Why wouldn't I bring him?"

Sister:  "He hasn't met our father yet.  And he's not going to meet him at my house.  Don't expect to bring him here until you get things worked out with our father."
Me:  "??? WTF???"
Sister:  "I told you so.  If you want to see your nephew and neices I told you what you needed to do."

Not exactly the definition of a loving family, is it?

I'm invited, but he isn't.  The same thing happened years ago in another time and place.  Back then, it was awful.  I remember feeling torn, not sure what to do.  I didn't understand how to be without my family.  This time, things are different.  Mr. C and I are doing our own thing, and I don't have any second doubts, I'm not looking back wondering if we're doing the right thing. 

I was raised to love my family.  To do everything for my family and with my family.  Mr. C and I are forging our new family.  We have amazing friends that love us...they are our family.  I have distant family that love and support us...they are my family.  If we decide to have and raise children I hope to teach them that family is fluid, it's made up of all those people in our lives that love and support and cherish us.

So, when I told my counselor about this newest glitch in my family tree, she asked me if I had a good cry...then told me to get over myself and get on with my life.  Not one for empathy, that's for sure. 

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