Wednesday, July 30, 2014

About Family

It seems like if you are lucky, you start out your life in love with your parents. They are your everything and are meant to give you infinite amounts of love and support, shelter and nourishment. I was no exception to that and as I have written before, was privy to a wonderfully rich childhood where I never felt deprived, unsupported or unloved. But we all eventually grow up and in that period start to demand our independence and desire to find our own place in this world – AKA teenage hood. We go through a time where we don’t need our family or parents so much and that is perfectly okay. Independence is a natural step in our evolution and most parents value their children’s desire for it. It is as one would say “a developmental milestone.” But what I have noticed in recent years is that the pendulum spins back around and we begin to need or perhaps just want to be with our family more. Maybe it is triggered by starting our own families or other major events that allow us to see what our parents saw all those years ago…what is really important.

I just finished having my mother here for 2 weeks and it was wonderful. Just this morning when we were heading out the door to the airport, I said to her what I would miss most – her company. I have loved having her in the other room, to sit with and have a tea, giggle over silly things from the past, take a walk, get a daily massage…just knowing that she was there when I came home was comforting. She felt the exact same way especially seeing as she lives alone back in Canada. Being intertwined in our little displaced family for this time made her feel good. We both acknowledged how lucky we are that we genuinely like to be around one another as that is definitely not the case for everyone. Of course we quarrel and disagree but more often than not we enjoy being together and I feel a genuine emptiness when she is gone. This morning at the airport, the tears flowed and thankfully I had had the foresight to use waterproof mascara that day (thank you Maybelline). As my daughter and I walked away, I really started crying and my little cherub starting to do the same without truly understanding why we were crying. All she knew was that her mommy was sad and that she should be too. It reminds me of one of my most vivid and earliest childhood memories. I woke up one morning to the sound of crying. I went downstairs to the family room and my whole family was weeping. Being the youngest by 5 years, I was at an emotional disadvantage and didn’t quite understand that everyone was crying because my grandma had died. I was maybe 2 or 3 years old so I just started to cry too just like my daughter did today. It is easier to fall in line than to hang back on the sidelines. Maybe that kind of sums up the idea of family – it is much nicer and far more comforting to be part of something than to exist on the outskirts. I value the idea of family so much more now and maybe in doing so sometimes pushes me to make unrealistic expectations of them. Because that is the other side of it – family can also be shrouded in deficiencies and dysfunctions. It is only natural really for a group of people who spend decades together to encounter some sort of konflicts. We all carry unspoken expectations of one another and can sometimes be overly honest and harsh with one another because “we are family.” We push the unconditional love bit a little too far at times. I do feel that I have learned so much about family from my own and try to instill the same ideals and qualities into team Norcan. You learn a lot about family in times of crisis and I have had more than my share of it these last few years. It is only natural to put far more pressure and expectation on family than friends but the chance for disappointment than becomes far greater. Even family doesn’t always react the way we want or wish and we often put each other onto the highest pedestals. I am not sure what is the magic ingredient here to making everyone happy - maybe it is impossible to achieve. All I know is that everyone should feel safe, included and loved regardless of environment or circumstance because more often than not, we all just want the best for one another and no one wishes any ill will. Because in my view -  life is far too short to quarrel over “stuff.” Unless someone has killed somebody else, you can get past it because the one certain thing is that you can never ever get time back. Once it has passed, it is gone forever. I understand all too well how fragile time is and hate to see it wasted. We sometimes lose sight of the important stuff and more importantly the big picture.

So as you can see I am quite melancholic and reflective in the wake of my mother’s departure. It is so hard to say goodbye especially with so many tough things around the corner. It feels like the fun times are over. The dreaded scan is in two weeks, summer holidays are done and I am already worrying about the dark cold winter approaching.  Talk about looking at the glass half empty! Everything seems so much easier basked in warm sunshine! Again I have no gut feel as to how this scan will go and my body feels quite numb. I know on some level my body is feeling stress though as it appears in different ways like the way I run my tongue across my gums to the point of inflammation, the constant burning in my stomach, difficulty concentrating…I recognize the signs. 7 months have dwindled down to a couple weeks all too quickly. Like I told my mother this morning – I cannot do this a third time. Twice was enough and I am done with interruptions. So it must be that life will just have to continue on for me and everything will be okay. But it does help to remember that whatever will be my mom will always be there for me. And an army of family and friends wielding swords and shields wildly at whatever enemy appears. Because that is what love is – just being there when it matters.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful post, OBB, and a fine tribute to the deep love and rich fabric of family.