Word gets around

29 03 2007

My relationship with my family is quite complicated. I don’t actually know most of my family very well, but we’re not what you would call a “dysfunctional” family. I just haven’t lived with them for alot of my formative years. I am the baby of the family. My siblings are 13, 11, and 9 years older than I. I have fond memories of all of them from my childhood, but I never learned to really know them as people. I had my first dorming experience at 10, and although it only lasted for a few months, I think I really started to disconnect from my parents then. I went to boarding school for high school, and became pretty distant from both of them. I had always been a pretty independent child anyway, and I don’t remember having a strong connection with either of them after coming back from Africa. I remember feeling as a middle and high schooler that my mom was tired of raising children and that I was her last chance to “do it right’ and that I was failing her.

So now that I’m an adult, I deal with this dicatomy of feeling distant and disconnected from my family while also having alot of history with them that makes it feel like I should know them better.  I’ve been learning more about my parents and sisters in the past few years, but slowly and at times akwardly.  I realize alot of this is my fault, because they are right there.  I could talk to them basically whenever I wanted, but I don’t take the time.  I envy my roommates who seem comfortable and close to their families.  I love my family very much, and think they are all amazing people.  And I know they love me.  I hope that I can find ways to bridge this gap in years to come.

Last weekend I found out that we are not as disconnected as I sometimes think.  I was in Goshen that weekend, and Mike and I were dealing with some strong questions about the wisdom of continuing our relationship despite the fact that he is going to be gone alot of the next year, we have no clear idea of when we can actually be in the same place, and he’s feeling insecure about what he wants for his future and how I fit into that.  He’s afraid of hurting me and that the separation is going to be too hard on me and he’ll feel guilty about that.  A trial separation was discussed, a more permanent breakup seemed imminent at on point, but at the end of the weekend we chose to stay together and continue as planned.  But on Saturday we thought we were going to take a break over the summer, and possibly next fall, and when I stopped by my sister’s house I told her about it.  I didn’t think she would say anything to any of the other family (I’m not exactly sure why I was under this impression), so imagine my surprise when I received a call on Monday from my mom saying “I heard from your brother that you and your boyfriend split up!”  So new actually travels faster in my family than I realized.  Except I’m always the last to hear.  I remember one time my nephew broke his arm and I found out a month later.  They were still living in PA at the time.

On a random note, in a recent conversation with Abby about the weekend’s drama, she called me a “serial monogamist”.  How’s that for creating new vocabulary.




3 responses

30 03 2007

I think Mike is such a sweet and conscientious guy, taking care not to hurt you. Not to pry or anything, but it made me wonder how you felt when you were talking about trial separation or break… you wrote it with such casualness, I can almost feel your inner strength reigning over the fear of imminent loss.

30 03 2007
bindi nestor

Its interesting that you are rethinking who your family are and what they mean to you. In your case you have the relationship with your parents and also with siblings who are maybe almost like parents too in some ways. This is an important thing to do because replacing the child-adult relationship with an adult-adult one needs to be worked out – its not an easy transition for anyone. Some people don’t get around to working through this until their 50’s! Me, I sussed it all out in my thirties (my ‘Women Who Run With the Wolves’ stage).

1 04 2007

April~ He is a sweet conscientious guy. There are so many wonderful things I could say about him. The possible dilemma isn’t him or me or how we work together, but timing and being in different places in life. How I felt…. that’s a hard question to answer. The night that we decided I was surprisingly calm. It felt like either way we went we would be fine. We’ve helped each other grow so much. He’s helped me heal and I’ve taught him about love and relationships. I figured we would either break up at the end and move on as better people, or we would be stronger. But all the next day I started to see it as ugly. If we let go at all we would just go our separate ways. The 20 or so minutes where it felt like we might actually be doing exactly that felt like hell, and I realized that I didn’t want to let go at all, not an ounce. Maybe next fall. Maybe for a few self contained evaluatory months. Maybe. I don’t feel casual about it, just… not terrified of a future without Mike.

Bindi~ That adult/adult relationship is a hard thing to figure out. There’s so much I want to know about my family, but I don’t feel close enough to them to pry.

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