My family, my mother and father and brothers, we all pretty much hate each other. It has been this way as long as I can remember.
I used to think that I had come to terms with it, found my peace. But I am not so sure. I think about it quite a bit now that I have my own kids.
Why did it happen?
How can I prevent this from becoming truth for my own children?
On some level I am sad that my kids don’t get to spend more time with their grandparents. They won’t get to know how cool an aunt or uncle can be, or play with their cousins.
But on the other hand, I don’t want them to be witness to all of that hate and negativity.
Am I sheltering them too much?
One of my favorite memories growing up was hunting for candy my grandfather had hidden around his house or office.
My father won’t give my kids candy.
At first I thought it might have been because he didn’t want to spend money on them. Or he was worried that as a physician I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to something so unhealthy. So once, I took a bag of M&M’s and encouraged him to give it to them. “You can be the cool grandpa!” Nope. No can do. No candy.
He won’t even discuss it. “Don’t bring that again,” said my mother.
So, I let my kids think they are super cool grandparents. They don’t know any differently and they deserve to think of them as heroes. But it makes me terribly sad.
I am the only female child. The first born. And yet, my brothers were allowed to drive before me. They were allowed to have summer jobs.
They were taught women were servants. Somehow, they still believe this. They argue. They throw hate at anything they don’t agree with or understand. They make fun of me at family gatherings. I do not fit their stereotype.
After a while, I simply stopped trying to be around them.
I was thinking about this yesterday as we were grilling fantastic food and I was watching the kids playing in the wading pool. I wondered what it would be like to be part of a huge family gathering.
Christmas is lonely.
So is Thanksgiving.
And every other holiday.
I want my son and daughter to love and respect each other. I want them to want to be around me when they are grown.
I wish I knew the secret. I like control. Instead I try to model this for them as much as I can and wait and pray. Waiting is the hardest.
Only time will tell.