Family, for me, is a conundrum.
On one hand I am fairly positive that family – if you dedicate yourself to it – is probably the most rewarding and fulfilling thing about life. On the other hand – opening yourself up to a group of people takes a lot of work and effort. There is love and belonging, but you are also subject to heartache, anger, and betrayal. There is unparalleled love and comfort- then there is your mom committing suicide and your dad’s methamphetamine addiction.
Family is Good
For example, some of my best memories are of when I was a chubby kid running around with my cousins during the holidays. I remember going to my Grandmother’s house and the entire family circled around the table for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
I remember the butterflies in my stomach the night before because I couldn’t wait to eat serving after serving of home-cooked-southern-fried-everything. I remember the turkey and dressing, the potato salad, the sweet tea, the laughs, and the feeling of belonging. I remember my chubby face and bowl cut – never happier. There was no place on earth I belonged more.
Family can be a real bitch
In contrast I know all too well the feelings of betrayal and anger by those same bastards I call family. I remember the stressful Christmas’s when all I wanted is for my parents to get along. I remember the shit my childhood turned into. I think of the blame I lay on my Grandmother. I think of all the things that have resulted in long rants on this very blog.
Then my thoughts turn to my wife. I see the amazing, almost disgusting, family she has. I feel such an awkward appreciation toward what they have. I see all the makings of true happiness and I am simultaneously annoyed by it. Too many emotions my body has built no mechanism to deal with.
The most important thing in life and also the most painful – family. The decision to accept and forgive or to avoid and create new. Not knowing what to do – it makes you realize just how human you are, how fragile, even when you want to seem tough.
I’m not sure what makes a person truly happy in life, but the older I become the more I realize that family is an inevitable and necessary part of the equation. So in the end the only option is to embrace it. Embrace family.
But as smart as I think I am sometimes – I still have no idea how to go about it.