I’m aware that I’ve touched on this subject before, if not numerous times, but I need to get these words out of my head and into the world.
Family to me isn’t as traditional as most. Of course I have my immediate family; my Dad, Sister, Step Sister and Brother and step Mom, not to mention my daughter. However, short of a couple cousins (whom I adore), a handful of friends replaces my extended family. That’s just the way it is, there is no regret, dislike or anything else, it just worked out like that. As kids my sister and I were never real close with my Dad’s side of the family, and once my Mom passed away her side of the family kind of drifted off (as did us kids).
During all of this, I met several great people who looked after me. A couple of my friend’s moms are 2nd, 3rd and 4th moms to me, as well as random friends who have known me for years. These people slowly became what I considered family. There was no blood involved, just friendships that developed over time, and because of that, we spent time together when we wanted to see each other instead of at obligatory family functions.
That is what family is to me.
Some of you know I have a “half-sister”. My mother had a baby when she was in her late teen years, and instead of becoming a teen-aged mother she gave her daughter up for adoption. My “half-sister” is 16 years older than me and apparently lives down south (I thought North, but whatever.) I’ve only met her once in person, and I was too young to remember.
When she was in her twenties (late teens?) , she found us (through an aunt of mine I believe) and began to contact my parents. I honestly don’t know my mother’s true opinion of it, but my first memory of her isn’t pleasant. Lets just go ahead and say that the year before and after my mother passed, my half sister didn’t exactly make it easy on us. (Think Dad unplugging the phone at 2am when we’re getting drunk-dialed-screamed at from another state, while cancer-ridden-mother tries to sleep.) After she blew off my mom’s funeral she disappeared again for about 7 years.
She surfaced again when I was 18 ( thanks to the same aunt – also the same aunt who blabbed to my Dad that I was pregnant with Noodle – Seeing a pattern here?) and called me. This time it was to talk about how the fact that she was adopted, that my mother chose to let two wonderful people raise her was the reason she had a drug problem. She then berated me for choosing to give my own son up for adoption, and then asked to live with me.
After that conversation, fast forward another 4 years or so and she resurfaces. This time she’s pregnant and needs advice on adoption. Oy.
Now apparently she’s straightened her life out. Facebook allowed her to find me and my younger sister, and after almost a year, things finally went south.
[ My sister and I, especially I, have never pursued a relationship with her. Yes, she is blood related, but we also have never met her (where we can remember) and only know her by the warpath she left behind. Being friends with her on Facebook made me uncomfortable, it’s hard to talk to someone who expects a full relationship out of you when you’ve never met, much less have nothing but blood in common. I didn’t mind a few jabs here and there and a “like” on a photo, but beyond that I shied away from it.]
Today she messaged me… again. This time she asked if she should continue to attempt a relationship with my sister and I. I was honest. I told her that I didn’t see a point, that we could most definitely keep in touch via social networking but beyond that I couldn’t see a relationship developing and that I wasn’t really interested in working on one. I told her my views on family and encouraged her to appreciate her loving parents and her own daughter and friends.
The response I got back set me off. She resorted back to what she always did. Her Bio family means so much to her, and when Mom died, it hurt her real bad. – Excuse me while I try not to get mad again –
Yeah. You know what? ’97 may have been a long time ago, but it’s still pretty damn fresh to me. I have absolutely no sympathy. There is a huge difference between losing a bio-mom whom you met once (and then ditched the funeral for – as well as both grandparents funerals) while you’re in your twenties… and losing the Mom who you saw every-single-fucking-day when you’re in 5th and 3rd grade. Big-fucking-difference. It would be different if she hadn’t spent years in a drug-induced stupor, harassing me and more importantly harassing my mom when she was dying. It would be different if she didn’t wait until she was in her 40s to try and nurture a relationship. But it’s not. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s going to be.
I promptly told her what I wrote above ^^, as well as the fact that she shouldn’t go around digging up 16 year old graves to make herself happy. I wished her well and again encouraged her to appreciate her own family and friends and that I didn’t want to dig up aforementioned grave again. Then I promptly un-friended her and blocked her.
Maybe I should have had a little compassion, maybe I should have handled it better. Truthfully? I don’t care. I lost all compassion for the situation years ago when I was berated for the same choice she later made. I lost that compassion when she blamed putting drugs up her nose on my mother (which FYI : No one forced you to do drugs!). I don’t care.
I’m glad it’s finally done, I hope that’s the last tie I have to cut. It took me 26 years to divorce myself from her, and I wish it happened earlier. She needs to move on, she needs to love her own family and nurture the relationships she’s taking for granted. She needs to realize that we don’t know her, and we don’t want to get to know her. We’ve been trying to heal the best we can, fix our own issues and problems, and speaking for myself, I cannot take on hers too, again. I’ve been spending the last couple of years eliminating negativity from my life, and that was one of the relationships I put off getting rid of.
I forgive her for the person she used to be. But forgiveness isn’t for her, it’s for me, it’s letting myself move on, and get on with my life. I don’t want to be reminded of what she put my family through and what horrible emotion she invoked. I forgive her for what she did and has done, but that doesn’t mean I want to be best friends. I want to be done.
Family is not blood. Family is love and caring. Family is made of the people that stand by you day in and day out. Family is made of people who love each other, not for their own gain, but just because.