we are family
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?