29 July 2013

Blood and Water

You all know the saying, "Blood is thicker than water," its meaning and connotation. Recently, I have found that this saying is no longer true for me.

I am an only child and my greatest wish has always been for a brother or sister or both. I wanted to share my childhood with someone my age, someone with whom to conspire and fight. Someone to love and understand as only a sibling can. People would always state when they found out my only child status, "You must be spoiled!" Well, duh. If you're the only kid in the house of course you get everything. But I can tell you, without hesitation, that I would have gladly handed over all my toys and the singular attention of my parents for a sibling. Even now, as an adult, I wish I had a brother or sister with whom to share my grief of the last few years.

It's disheartening to realize that, having done everything right, my mother sees me as the enemy. Making good grades, never causing trouble, graduating from college, getting a job, marrying a wonderful man, paying my bills, having and raising awesome kids, paying some of her bills, giving her unfettered access to my life, all of that makes me, in the end, a person to be hated.

I know that it isn't her that hates me, but her BPD. It's very hard, though, to separate the woman from her mental state. To know that she cannot separate her grandchildren from her feelings toward me is what grieves me the most.

It is nearing a month since she has spoken to or seen her grandchildren. I'm not stopping her. In fact, I would never stop her from seeing them. If she called and asked to visit them, I would make sure that said event would happen immediately. I was separated from my grandfather for three years it and it hurt me greatly. I remember the sadness of not being allowed to see him because of my mother's disagreement with him, a disagreement that had nothing to do with me except for the similar blood which ran through our veins.

Because I missed out on having brothers and sisters, I have created a family from my friends. Those loved ones who are close friends are called "Aunt" and "Uncle" by my children because they are my sisters and brothers, chosen by me to be my family. Because I was cut off from many of my own aunts, uncles, and cousins throughout my childhood and adolescence, I have had to make my own family. In the last few weeks I have had to adjust more family notions as well. I have had to realize that my mother-in-law has been more of a mother to me than my own. Ty-man's family and my friends have taken better care of me, physically and emotionally, than my own blood.

Tyler has two cousins, sisters, who are very close in age to one another and who are very close to each other, emotionally. When they are together, you can tell they are best friends. I have watched them grow up over the years and observed their relationship. It is a relationship that this mother hopes her children share with one another. It is a relationship this only child wishes she could have experienced. At a family wedding two months ago I was sitting next to one sister at the dining room table when the other sister come over. I said, "Here, I'll move so you can sit next to your sister." She replied, "No, I came over to sit next to my Heather."

I nearly cried happy tears right there in front of everyone.

My family chose me as I chose them. I wasn't born into this family, but I am certainly here, in the middle of it, ecstatic to be part of it. It's a hodge-podge family of a few cousins, an aunt-by-marriage, in-laws, old co-workers, college mates, sorority sisters, ghost hunters, a neighbor, and bloggers. That is my family.

For me, the water will wash away the blood.


sybil law said...

Okay - we are officially sisters. Next time I see you we're totally doing the blood prick swap.
I have a brother - 6 years older, BPD. Because he's so much older, we were never really close at all, and I really always felt like an only child (and being the girl my mom wanted and the baby, I was definitely spoiled, too). My cousin and I are best friends, and she was the sister I never had and wanted.
But now I have YOU, and you're freaking awesome. You are always welcome in my family. Besides - we're fucking awesome (meaning me and you - not necessarily the family).

sybil law said...

Also - damn my comment is stupid. Sorry - I woke up far too early this morning.

hello haha narf said...

oh heather, this is beautiful. and heartbreaking. and powerful. and well...this made me cry. so much to say about my own feelings on this subject, but i would turn your comments section into a novel and i don't want to take away from your post. perhaps when i next see you we can talk about it.

until then, please know that you are one of the most precious gifts that the internet has given me. you are so loved.

Unknown said...

Heather, I think you're absolutely right. Often, family is what we make it - not necessarily blood relations but those people who lift us up and make us feel better about people and life in general.

Hugs, D