Family: The Good. The Bad. The Ugly. (TToT #2)

Posted: August 15, 2014 in Defeating Depression, Human Connections
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Twenty-four years ago (on August 16) — exactly three months before my ninth birthday, my baby brother was born! (Happy birthday, Ron!) I have a hard time picturing him as the young man that he is. . . In my eyes, he is still the eight-year-old boy that he was when I left home after our mother died. I am thankful that God saw to it that our mother helped him into the world just eight short years before she passed (Thankful #1). He has been a blessing (& a burden! ha ha) in my life & I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

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An old pic of the little bro. About 4 years ago.

I love that he has found such a sweet, sweet girl, who has been his girlfriend for the past several years (Thankful #2). She seems to ground him in a world where he seems to want to flutter everywhere aimlessly. . . She gives him focus & she seems to genuinely love him, as he does her. (And, it certainly doesn’t hurt her case that she nudges him to stay in touch with his family better! LOL) It is a beautiful, beautiful thing. . .

It is even more beautiful that this fabulous couple has recently shared with us that they are about to become parents!! Hooray!!!! I am to be an auntie again (Thankful #3)!!!! I AM SO STOKED!!!! It is going to be so fun to watch them grow as parents & people & a couple. I can’t make up my mind if I am crossing my fingers for a niece or nephew. . . I can certainly see them with either one — but my mother’s side of the family hasn’t seen a baby girl in nearly 25 years! We are due! Just sayin’. 😉

Speaking of siblings, as I am composing this post, I am also chatting with my oldest brother Curtis on Facebook. . . Last week, I mentioned that it was that social media site where my Uncle Alvin (my father’s brother) had found my sister & I to help us get in touch with some of our father’s side of the family — including our four older siblings: Curtis, Terrell, Rachel, & Chris. I do not get to speak with Terrell or Chris all that often, as they do not appear to be on Facebook nearly as much as the rest of us & that is how we primarily communicate. BUT, Curtis & Rachel are MUCH more active on there, so they are much of my link to that side of my family. I am grateful for that (Thankful #4).

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My older brother Curtis, my younger sister, & my nephew. November 2001.

Still on the subject of siblings, within 12 hours (or so) of publishing this post, I will be getting ready to go have coffee with my sister. The purpose of this “coffee date” (of sorts) is to sit down & talk out a few of our issues — the elephants in the room, if you will. I am grateful for the opportunity to sit down & hash it out (Thankful #5), because I was always taught that your family is your family no matter what. . . BUT, several months ago, my sister said & did some things that I would have kicked anyone else to the curb for — & not looked back. It was sheer disrespect, as far as I am concerned, (even if she seems to view it as just “another” argument that got out of hand . . .) BUT, she IS still my sister, so she gets yet another shot. I can’t help it. I still don’t know EXACTLY what I hope to gain from our conversation, but I feel it’s a necessary step, nonetheless. . .

On the subject of family being family no matter what, I think it is a combination of my mother, my maternal grandmother, & my four uncles (my mother’s younger brothers) that taught me this lesson somewhere along the line. . . I don’t have any particular conversation or event that sticks out in my mind regarding this, yet I am certain it came from them, collectively. I am so grateful that I grew up the way I did (Thankful #6) — good, bad, or ugly, it’s the TRUTH. Case in point: the conversation I have been having with Curtis stems around the fact that it is a bit sad that we do not get to know & love each other the way other siblings get to since we didn’t get to know each other & grow up together. . . That it is of no fault of our own that it has turned out this way, but that it is still frustrating because we feel we are missing out. This is all true. . . It’s the cards we were dealt. It doesn’t mean there isn’t some kind of love still there for one another. But, again, in my book, family is family. . . It’s just that no one really teaches you how to still be family with someone you don’t really know. Sad, but true.. . All we can do is continue to get to know each other the best we can in the time we have. . . And, because I grew up the way I did, I can recognize that this is a huge opportunity to be able to do just that. . .

Speaking of my maternal grandmother, she called me this week! I have purposely kept the same cell phone number that I have had for the past SEVERAL years because she is one of the few people who does not own a cell phone & always calls from a land-line on a plan that still charges for long-distance phone calls. My number is a local number for her to call, no matter how far away I am. I am grateful that is something I am able to do to make her life a little easier, if & when she wants to talk (Thankful #7). The last few times we’ve talked, I have called her (which is TOTALLY fine!) & I remind her that she can call me too — anytime. She seems to forget that I have the same number & that it is a local call for her. This time she did remember! I love it! It made me smile. Big time. I miss her dearly.

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Grandma & Me. February 2014.

My grandmother had called because she saw a post I put on Facebook about my nephew, (my sister’s oldest — the one I have the “coffee date” with). I posted on Facebook to slightly embarrass him for skipping school & getting picked up my a police officer, then having an IV shoved in his vein & taken to the emergency room because he was dehydrated & disoriented from wandering around for hours in the desert sun. She didn’t have my sister’s phone number to call her directly, so she called me to make sure my nephew (her great-grandson) was alright. I told her he was — thank God! (Thankful #8) — but he seemed more concerned with the fact that the policeman stopping him meant that he was “caught” for skipping — again! — rather than being concerned about his dwindling future prospects from flunking out of high school or — more importantly — the fact that he stupidly took a risk with his health & life by wandering out into the desert just to not have to go to school.

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The nephew, hooked up in the ER after his stupid stunt earlier this week.

While I had my grandmother on the phone, I also took the opportunity to plant the seed for asking her to consider coming to live with the handsome husband & I at some point in the (hopefully not-so-distant) future. . . She is always so worried about everyone else & it is getting to the point where it just seems like too many people try to walk all over her. She deserves to have someone else look after her for a change. . . Even if she doesn’t need to be taken care of, it seems to me that the time is approaching where it would be nice for her to not have to worry so much. . . That is all I am saying. She is worried that she wouldn’t be able to handle the heat in Arizona (where we live currently), but I also know that she would be worried to move so far away from my uncle (her youngest son). . . This is why I told her to just think about the possibility of it at some point in the not-so-distant future. . . Besides, the handsome husband & I do intend to move back to Washington within the next few years — exactly when, we do not know yet. Now, we are by no means “well off” financially; we struggle from time to time & live very much paycheck-to-paycheck, even if we are in the process of remedying that. BUT, with that said, it feels good to be in a place in life where we’ve got our “basics” down well enough to be able to honestly & sincerely entertain this kind of idea (Thankful #9). Furthermore, it makes me smile that the handsome husband is so completely on board with the idea & brings up — on his own — different ways to make the transition easier for both us and Grandma if & when the time comes (Thankful #10).

I am blessed.

What are YOU thankful for this week? Comment below, email me at mochamama@calculatedchaos.net, or connect with me at Calculated Chaos on Facebook.

This post was written for the Ten Things of Thankful (TToT) weekly link-up hosted by Lizzi of Considerings. Pop over there to see what others are thankful for this week. 😉

 

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Comments
  1. lrconsiderer says:

    Messy, tangled, and somehow still wonderful. Families, huh! Sounds like you’re a real force for good in yours. Well done for keeping going with it. Your commitment and determination to build relationships and keep things working is admirable 🙂

    Like

  2. Kristi says:

    Commitment to family is a wonderful, lovely trait. I hope that your conversation with your sister helps the relationship, and that you have fun getting to know your brother better.

    Like

    • Reta Jayne says:

      The conversation with my sister went alright. We’ll never see eye-to-eye, but at least now, we both got to say our piece without anger getting in the way. We’ll take it slow & see what happens. Time will tell. 😉

      Like

  3. Sarah says:

    Oh my, I admit to getting a bit lost in all those relations, but there’s really not much more satisfying and better for a relationship than a chance to hash things out. My sister and I have hash out sessions from time to time, and they’re good. We’re committed to being honest, and I know that’s what will keep us staying tight over the years. So glad you’re in touch with so many family members with the prospect of more!

    Like

    • Reta Jayne says:

      LOL. Yes. I suppose this IS a lot of people to “keep track of” when you have no idea who they really are. . . 😉

      Hashing things out WAS good for my sister & I. We’re going to try for a monthly coffee date like that & see what happens. . .

      Like

  4. stephanie2006 says:

    I hope the coffee date with your sister went well. I had a big fall-out with my (only) sister about 2 years ago, which resulted in not exchanging a single word until she called me out of the blue last March. We also met for coffee, and managed to get over all the differences in the past. Definitely hope for the same happening to you!

    On another note: We have lived in Washington State ourselves and still miss it. Couldn’t imagine living in AZ..

    Like

    • Reta Jayne says:

      It did go alright. Communication is key, right? We don’t have to agree, but we do need to have more respect for each other. We’ll see what happens in time.

      I can’t imagine living in AZ & I do! LOL. I am REALLY hoping that, in a few months, when it starts to cool down a bit, I suddenly start to LOVE it here. . . Again, we will see. . . 😉

      Like

  5. christine says:

    Facebook is a great tool for keeping in touch with far-flung relatives. It’s the only reason I got a FB account in the first place.
    I’m glad your nephew was found and is OK.
    I didn’t live with my siblings during all of our growing up years, either. It’s a bummer, but nothing that can’t be overcome. Sounds like you are doing everything in your power to keep the lines open.

    Like

    • Reta Jayne says:

      Facebook’s purpose, for me, first & foremost IS to keep in touch with friends & family. . . Anything else is gravy. 😉 I get that.

      I am hoping my nephew is scared straight over this whole incident. Time will tell. He’s at that age where he can really make poor choices that mess up his adult life for quite a while. I just hope he realizes that the opposite is true too.

      Yes.. One day I will be able to go visit the siblings I don’t really know. . . Until then, Facebook. 😉

      Like

  6. zoebyrd says:

    Here’s hoping it all works out…family is worth a second chance dont have to regret or explain that. ..

    Like

  7. dyannedillon says:

    Families certainly come in all shapes and sizes, but they are ours. Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch. I hope you and your sister work things out.

    Like

  8. valj2750 says:

    Yes. You have your priorities in life in order. Family is important – the most important. I am glad you get to talk things over with your sister. My sister is so very important to me, I couldn’t bear having difficulties with her. Congrats on being an aunt (again). I hope it’s a girl!

    Like

    • Reta Jayne says:

      Thanks for saying so. . . I do wonder sometimes. I love my sister dearly, but I feel so worn down by picking up some of her pieces so frequently. . . We shall see what the future brings. . . 😉

      Like

  9. May says:

    You are blessed. But you know what? I think your family is even more blessed to have you so fully engaged and working to make it stronger and more healthy.

    Like

  10. Gosh, quite an eventful week! Hope that your nephew’s getting better!

    Like

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