This is a weird time of year for me. On the one hand, I have Tiger and her family, which I’m extremely grateful for, and of course, I have the hubby and kids, but it can still be a lonely time of year without those blood connections of your own.
It’s a time of year when I find myself very reflective and missing people, places, things and times lost to all but my often melancholy memories.
Yesterday, I had one of my long-lost cousins contact me. Her father has passed away, and not realizing my estrangement from my mother’s part of the family, she wanted me to pass on the news.
I found myself in deep conversation with her about my childhood, a time she may remember a little differently than I, but a time she remembers nonetheless being 10 years my senior.
Although I parted ways with my family when I was 12 and went to live with my mom (I was told they were all angry with me and didn’t want to see me anymore), I was told by my cousin that I was never forgotten, that I was always missed and talked about and that I could have (and still could), reclaimed my place in the family if I chose. Apparently, that choice was always mine even though I didn’t know it until yesterday. She said I’m still considered the baby of the family (a title that seems destined to follow me everywhere I go) and would be welcomed with open arms if that’s what I wanted.
What do I want? That’s the question, isn’t it?
I have no romanticized notions of these people. I know who and what they are. They come from the same stock I do. I remember some of them quite clearly. I also remember how much I loved some of them, how good the family, as a whole, was to me.
I told my cousin that I was left feeling as if I had no family of my very own. I’ve spent my life trying to either create space for me and mine in other people’s families or trying to create one of my own. Many of my years have been spent either lonely or feeling like I was forcing myself on people.
Part of me thinks it would be nice to spend some time with my roots, my bloodline, if for no other reason than to form an opinion of my own as an adult about these people I came from.
These are also the people that hold no romanticized notions of me or of my mother. They knew her for what she truly was. They can fill in blanks no one else can. They also knew me for the troubled and confused child I was. It’s apparently still talked about in the family about how mean I was, and it’s true. I find myself trying to hide that part of myself from even those I love. There is no hiding with these people. They know.
The holiday season makes me melancholy, as I said, and I’m reluctant to make a decision now. It’s a decision almost 30 years in the coming, a few more months won’t change anything that nearly 30 years hasn’t already. Let me get through the holidays and the impending move of both us and the kids and then we’ll see what happens. Perhaps by then, I’ll at least be ready to reach out to some of them. Then, we can see where things stand.