Friday, May 18, 2012

Tonight's Inspiring Topic Is... FAMILY

Twelve hour days make me tired... but not too tired to deliver on a promise to my readers and that was a promise to blog tonight. Granted, I knew today would be long, but not twelve hours long; so when I made that promise I had no idea I would be this exhausted. Hopefully I will make sense... and be able to find an inspiring notion to talk about tonight. As you may have figured out by now with my incessant babbling it hasn't hit me yet, but if I just keep typing it will come to me... I know it will. (just bare with me and grab some coffee or something just in case) HA! Just kidding (sort of)

Luckily I have an APP for that (moments like this when I need a second brain) Tonight I will rely on my trusty notepad app on my cell phone for the topics that fly into my head when I am driving, or sleeping or doing nothing.... so thanks to my previous brainstorming tonight's topic will be... (drum-roll please)

MENDING FAMILY BRIDGES

In my many years of being a stylist and having people vent in my chair, I have come to realize how lucky I am to have such a close family. Although there are miles between us we still manage to keep in touch, talk every chance we get and of course Facebook and Skype has made day to day keeping up with one another VERY accessible. The greatest thing is, we all get along and have never really had any big spats or dramatic situations that have affected our love for one another or kept us from connecting. This holds true with immediate family, aunts, uncles, and even cousins. I had no idea how truly rare that was.

I have heard such sad stories of family bridges being burned... stories of sisters and brothers who don't speak... mothers and fathers who through divorce have never spoken again leaving this weird awkward wedge between their children who can't "pick a side" and even stories of children who do not speak to one or both of their parents. When I hear these stories I always think the same thing... what in the world would I do without my family? The answer to that is simply something I can't even comprehend, life just would not be life without my family; my family means everything to me and I know I mean the world to them too. Perhaps we hold each other so close because we know what it is like to lose an immediate family member. Teresa was killed at 16 and it was a horribly awakening event that made us all realize that it only takes one moment to change your life forever.

My mom and Dad even many, many years after divorce still remain friends. My mother was friendly with both my step-moms one of which recently passed away, and my mother's sisters and brothers were there for my dad the day of her service. (my parent's divorced in 1989) It is rare, but the core of my family is truly untouchable, and I am a better person because of that.

I realize that things happen, we get our toes stepped on when a family member is honest when we wanted  them to say what we "wanted" to hear... people argue over who is going to get material possessions when a parent dies, parents and children fight over how to raise the grand children, or how to live life "their way". There are alcoholics, drug users, cheaters, thieves and liars... but despite ALL of those things there are ways to mend those family bridges. People find it's harder to mend a strained relationship with a family member than other types of relationships because when it is "family" it cuts deeper. We are taught that family is always there... that blood is thicker than water, so when we feel betrayed or hurt by family the wound stays open allowing resentment and sore feelings to set in, and of course our stubborn nature of "I am not apologizing first." I have seen divorced parents bash the other parent in front of kids and because of that a child grows up holding the same grudge against the other parent... when it's not even their own resentful feeling; that one REALLY gets to me. With that, I will share a story I heard once and finish it off with a word of advice.

The saddest story I think I have ever heard was the story of a young boy being raised by his very bitter mother. She and the father had divorced when the boy was very young and because of her ill feelings against the father she moved she and her son away from the city where he lived. As the young boy grew up he began asking questions about his father and the mother would always say things like, "your father cares nothing about you, he is a horrible man who left us and I don't want to put you through the pain of ever having him reject you." The boy would cry with confusion and grew up longing for his father's affection and although he wanted to find him, he did not even know his name. It came time for the boy to graduate high school and once again he asked his mom if she would help him find his dad only to get the same song and dance "your father would not come if I invited him, and I don't want to put you through that pain." The boy graduated without his father there. He went off to college and met a girl that he would later marry and before his wedding day he again asked his mom about finding his father and she once again rejected his request to "protect" him from pain. He married his love and had a child, his child grew up, graduated high school and college and his father was absent through all of it. When the boy was 50 years old, his mother died and as he was going through her things... he found his fathers name and a picture tucked away in an old box. He immediately started the search and found he had a sister. He contacted her and was overjoyed! They met for lunch and he asked her if she would tell him where his dad was. She gently held his hand and said, "dad passed away last year but he looked for you until the day he died."

The irony I found in this story is that this boy went through years of pain without his father because his mother wanted to save him from "pain"... it was HER pain that she was protecting, not her son's. Think about that one for a minute.

A word of advice to anyone reading this who is estranged from a family member or who can relate to the story above... you can never get those years back. Sometimes we have to suck up our own selfish feelings and love unconditionally because THAT is what family does. My father is an alcoholic, and I love him no less, my brothers do things that annoy me, but I love them all the same. My mother CERTAINLY gives me advice that I don't always want... but she is usually right and tells me what I NEED to hear out of love. I may have had issues with my two ex husbands but I respect the fact that my children need a relationship with their dads and encourage that relationship despite my own negative feelings. It's what FAMILY is about and if you don't know what it's like to have family, maybe it is time to be the one with the bigger kahunas and start mending those bridges, because despite how dis-functional many of them are; at some point we all need our family.

Goodnight everyone! Over and OUT!

xoxo
~Shells~