Thursday, December 17, 2015

The thing about blood...

Is that it's virtually meaningless.  Yes, we may resemble each other or be able to donate a kidney to one or another if we had to. The thing though is all of that can happen without having shared DNA. It's irrelevant when it comes to personal relationships.

 Let's just say that I have a dad that is, in all actuality, my mothers ex-husband. No relation but he is my Dad. I still call his 2nd ex wife my stepmom and her daughter is still my youngest sister and aunt to my children, though no blood relation. We spend the holidays and birthdays and summer barbecues together. Peacefully. These are my family.

 Regarding my oldest two, they were legally adopted by my husband in 2006 and they remember having to go with their biological father every other week until he signed the rights over to my husband. It took months of filing paperwork and sending it to him to get notarized and such. Finally we became a family by name even though we had been a family for quite some time.

 My husband thought it was best to not mention anything until the kids did. To let them ask anything they needed to know or wanted to know. Guess what? They didn't. Well they did but just recently. As they both either approached and is now approaching 18 years of age, I gave them all the info. The court papers, emails, photos- and told them that they are free and welcome to seek him out which does NOT involve me. I gave them all the names and facebook pages of all of their biological family members. And I let it go to them. As they are becoming adults I felt it important that I gave them the truth and trust them to do whatever it is that they feel the need to.

No strings attached. That's what real love does.

 I too have a biological father out there in the world. I used to be so angry at him. Used to wonder why he didn't want to be in my life. I really felt like a walking mistake. So when I heard from him when I was 18, I wasn't ready. The anger was still present and I wished him nothing but sorrow. Until I turned 30. Something about that number made me think that it was time to put some things to bed since they were not hurting anyone but me.

 I contacted my biological father and we talked. For a few months this went on until one day he stopped answering and never returned my calls. I was confused but not hurt. By talking with him I realized that he also had his issues, which had absolutely nothing to do with me, so I just let him go.

 Later his father, my biological grandfather- whom did want a relationship with me and visited me and my family every year- well he came to visit and told me that my biological father was convinced that I had put a curse on his other daughter because after he started talking to me she had gotten in a car accident.

 So upon that shocking news I just decided to be grateful for the life I had without that man. I cannot imagine what kind of fresh hell growing up with such ridiculous notions would have been like. My parents have their faults but they never accused people of putting curses on them and they did their best with what they knew. Which wasn't a whole hell of a lot sometimes but I can say that they had the best of intentions for me.

 I have taught my children, rather unconsciously, that real family doesn't degrade you. Just because someone shares DNA with you does not give them the right to abuse you in any way. My mothers family showed them that. I guess its been my reaction to that family's latest round of abuse that has really shown them that. People like to throw "cutting you off" around like its some sort of vile punishment. I have to say that since my mothers sisters and their spawn decided cut me and mine off because they thought one of my paintings was a political cartoon about them, that we have never been happier. I realize that distancing myself from them and their way of thinking has allowed me to find myself, my voice and who I am. Confidently. So now they get to see that THIS is how a self-respecting person reacts to such egotistical actions such as getting "cut off"- You do not react back. You let them go and be grateful for the times that were good but life goes on and not all people, especially if they are toxic, are meant to stay in your life.

 I have married into a wonderful family, so many stable and nurturing people are in my family now. Marriages last for 50 years and still going strong, they get together without sisters talking so much shit about their brother or his wife or who ever isn't in the room. That the type of shit I was raised seeing. I am embarrassed when I think of the times I emulated this behavior when I was a young adult. So unaware of the vices that family role models had on me. Manipulation was part of being a real grown up, right? It was all I had seen with the family that I spent the most time with. I can only accept that I emulated what I thought to be the way things were done. I still make apologies when they have made themselves known, for that time when I had things so wrong.

Humility is one hell of an anchor. Accepting responsibility  for things that you got wrong when it is due is the only way to set yourself free.

 Though it was a slow process, I have come to realize just how wrong my former family dynamic is. Not just for the people they are destroying with their words, but for themselves. They destroy themselves more than anything. That is why they keep having to sink lower and lower in an attempt to feel important or better than someone. I am nothing short of grateful that I didn't stay following the lead of those people that I still love. I am glad for the rejection they gave me and my kids. I am SO glad that my children will not KNOW of their sick dynamic first hand. That cycle of abuse has to stop. I am doing everything I can to make sure that all dies with me. That all decedents that I may have will not know the sickness I was born into. That it always remains foreign and unfamiliar when they hear stories of abuse. That is my prayer.

 On that note my art therapy journey brought me to this project. Which brought me all the contemplation I just wrote about. Its like a conclusion. Closure, if you will......

My grandparents on their wedding day. 1955. I never knew them together. They had divorced around the time my mom was pregnant with me in the late 70's. Here they seem hopeful. Joyous even. Grandma looks a little lost. Which she was. An orphan in the Bronx that, like the millions of others, didn't find their "Daddy Warbucks".
  Oh these two have tales. Just an entire book of tales. I cannot wait to write about someday, perhaps in another life.

 Well, I've finished one semester of college. So has my son. Keeping my oldest daughter on track to graduation is, in itself, a full time job but since we've loosened the reigns a bit, in an effort to start handing over control of her life to HER, she's been getting herself in all kinds of shenanigans! It's hard not to worry, since life seems to be showing her how hard things could be without permanently damaging her, I guess I don't have to. She is learning quickly. I will just have to let her make her choices and hope she truly understands that nothing is without consequences. Good or bad. Being an adult means you and you alone get to deal with consequences, good or bad!

God help me.

Happy Christmas. See you in 2016!


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