we are family

Other than my brother, I hardly ever see or talk to any family. It's not that I dislike them or anything. I usually enjoy the time I spend with them--we just don't have a lot of contact.

We were/are kind of estranged from my dad's sister and her family but Mom had 5 siblings. They all have children and grandchildren and one even has a great grandchild as of last Wednesday. Most live in Texas so geography isn't a big issue either. I've been trying to think of what is...

It isn't that they remind me of Mom. Sometimes they do but it's not like I avoid them to avoid thinking about her. I think about her all the time. Some of the family bring her up every time we see them--in a we-still-can't-believe-she's-gone kind of way. To them, it's as if I'm still 19 and dealing with that immediate grief, that my life has been on hold since then. Others have never mentioned her at all (that I can remember) in the last 10 years. Not even in passing.

I think the best answer I could come up with is that they don't really know me. It's as if they have read a description of me from 10 years ago (perhaps with a few addendums along the way). And that description wasn't even written by me. It was written casting me in a role of some sort. Or maybe not a role. Maybe it's just superficial. It doesn't include my emotions or deeply personal experiences.

I guess when I'm with them I'm me but filtered. I rarely get into discussions that reveal how liberal I am. I reel in my sense of humor a bit because I'm not sure some of them will get it. I don't mean that negatively toward them, just referring to the weirdness that is me. I don't talk about my feelings at all. Just the facts, ma'am.

I know what you're thinking because I'm thinking it, too. They don't know me because I'm not letting them. The thing is, they don't let me either. I spent five hours with my aunt yesterday and I can't tell you anything about her feelings. I can tell you about where they've traveled on vacation, what the school district wants to spend money on, how unattractive So-n-so's wife is... Can I tell you her secret to a 49-year marriage or her favorite memory of her mother (my grandmother) or if she has any regrets? Not at all. Have I ever asked? No. And I think I've never asked because I've never been asked. I'm not sure if it would make her uncomfortable or if she'd be happy to share those things.

It's just all very strange to think about. My friends and even some of their parents know me so much better than my own extended family. Am I alone in this or do you think this is just the way it is with families?

Comments

Bubba's Sis said…
Families are weird. I am very close to most of my family, but not all. Hubby is not close with any of his family. Even has bitter feelings towards some of them. I don't think there's any "rule" about how things should be with family - they just are what they are.

BTW, I am a Cadbury Creme Egg - the type that stole little brother's easter basket so that you could have MORE CANDY!

Bubba, I never stole your candy.
angelq said…
I am quite close to some of my family and the in-laws, too. Some of them surprise me when they ask personal things or try to be a part of things. Not because I don't want them to be, it just surprises me that they want to be a part of my life, I guess. I just assume nobody cares for some reason. I have learned to be more open with family as a result.

I also am jelly beans. And, yes, that second sentence was rather offensive.
StaceyG said…
I guess I am not a good person to ask. My parents' families are all in New England and I am an only child. I don't know my extended family because they aren't anywhere near me. My grandparents on my dad's side lived close for a while, but they were pretty private people. They died a while ago.

My husband has a huge extended family and you can't help but know how they feel about everything! It's quite dramatic. They are all from a small town though. That may have something to do with it.
Katie said…
Im fairly close to my extended family, I guess. Depends on how you define 'close.' Major holidays and the like, and occasional emails, etc.

I think you tend to be closer to friends and such because you CHOSE to have them in your life. Family is there by default, you don't get to choose. Make sense?
Bubba's Sis said…
Now I want to know what the last sentence in the Jelly Bean description was!!

Katie Lady is especially close with her sister-in-law - she LOVES her SO MUCH!!
Bubba's Sis said…
Just looked over your Happy List - where do you get delivery Mexican food?!?
Bubba said…
I think most of my family is insane. My sister used to steal from me.
wendy bird said…
All in all I am pretty close to most of my family—although since I am newly married I have failed to stay in contact as I should.

My mother and father divorced when I was young. Because of some extreme circumstances I never saw my father or his family again. Sometimes I wonder. But when I get faced with actually re-meeting them my whole world circles out of control. And, really, sometimes it is better to be in control.
cjh said…
Bubba--yes, your entire family--crazy. That's why you love them (despite your sister's stealing habit.) And Bubba's Sis--Mateo's delivers. I think they have just the one location near me but were planning on expanding. It's as successful as you'd think it would be...
Bubba's Sis said…
I really don't have a stealing habit. I promise.

crowd favorites

100 things--thankful

hey, would you like to see the nursery?