This past weekend we celebrated my grandmothers 95th birthday. A mind blowing concept,living to be 95. Nana or gigi ,as she is fondly referred to , didn’t want anyone to fuss over her birthday. She is at an age where she has survived a great many of her family members. Nana´s parents, siblings, cousins,husband, friends, a daughter and a grandchild have passed before her. This is something which saddens her and causes her depression and loneliness. While we are all super happy she is still here to celebrate her 95th birthday, she reflects back on all of those who have gone before her. I think she struggles the most with the loss of my Aunt Gayle, her daughter. She was very close with my aunt, even living next door to her for many years. We lost my Aunt Gayle a few years ago to cancer and my mother a few years prior to cancer. In fact, Gigi lost her sisters to cancer too and over the years it seemed as if she lost a sibling every year or so. This can take a toll on a person. She lived through the depression, and yet with all of her grandkids to put a smile on her face and the modern conveniences of the times, she suffers through a depression of a different nature. It just really makes you think. I hope I continue to experience life and all it has to offer, and I hope to have a positive attitude in doing so. My grandmother has been a hard worker her whole life, and though arthritis and age are catching up to her, she still tends to her garden and tries to keep her independence despite being unable to do things like she used to. She and my Uncle Frank (Aunt Gayles husband) are next door to each other. This is a great advantage to both of them now that they are widows. They keep each other company and look out for each other. I hate using that word ,widow, because it sounds depressing but nevertheless this is where life has put them. All in all I am amazed and blessed to have witnessed this 95 year old woman, born in 1919-lived through the depression-mother of 3-used to work in city hall-grandmother to ten(did i count right?)-the list goes on, still having the spunk of a thirty something. She still knows how to laugh and tell a good story. I hope that everyone, including myself, takes a page from her book. I only wish she didn’t have to suffer so much tragedy so she could enjoy everyday to the fullest, though somehow she manages to smile. I love you Nana, Happy 95th birthday!
The Internet is a wonderful, magical place filled with mountains of information on every subject you could possibly imagine, but let’s face it: somebody needs to tell Google that there are some things we just don’t want to know.
Take, for example, a recent conversation I had with my gracefully-aging but non-net-savvy father about a pair of defective winter boots:
Dad:These stupid boots are falling apart. See how the seam between the leather and the rubber is coming unglued? Do you think contact cement would work?
Me: I’m not sure. We could always Google it. Maybe there’s a product out there specifically designed to repair winter boots.
Dad (typing at his computer): Let’s see… I guess I need some kind of bonding agent. Let me just search “rubber”, “leather” and “bondage” and see what we come up with…
Accidental sadomasochism aside, there are other times that a…
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This is about everything and nothing in particular. Do you ever feel that when you need your family the very most, they don’t come through? When you just need them to listen, they spring into action when you don’t need that. If they are getting something out of an experience, they are all in. If there is nothing to gain but the pure joy in helping out, they can’t be bothered. They like to criticize and problem solve where they like but not when you actually want/need it. I see families with the most disfunction pull together through thick and thin. Then I see families who ,in theory, are the picture perfect family and they are absent in times of need. Do you ever feel like your family hangs you out to dry? It is a roller-coaster of emotions sometimes. After they help you out unexpectedly or even when you don’t want/need help, you feel grateful. You feel guilty for having doubted them this whole time. Wow, I am so lucky to have people who love me…right? Then as quick as the blink of and eye, you ask for help, they leave you alone and broken. They say, sorry, I wish I could help. This seems to be a repeat pattern with me. I am 100 % sure this reflects in my friendships or lack thereof. Why are family members so passive aggressive in nature?
I will never be able to get 100 % past at least two major life events. My mom passed away just before the one time in my life when I needed her most. This is probably a big part of my feeling disconnected to my family in some ways, as my mom was the glue that kept us together. In any case, when I lost my son and when I gave birth to his brother, these events felt different then they should have for me. Of course I was missing my mother and her wisdom and comfort. Also I was missing certain family members that vowed to be there for my husband and I during the tough moments in life. My son was born prematurely and he passed away after a lot of ups and downs in the NICU. He was here for just over 6 months, this was no quick delivery and passing. He had a life, however short it may have been. During this time, we went through the bulk of this alone. Most everyone made excuses as to why they couldn’t visit. Then when he passed away, after the funeral, almost nobody called or visited the cemetery. It was swept under the rug so to speak, as if it never happened. I learned in the grieving process, life goes on, and so it does for everyone else too. They have moved past it much quicker than we could ever do. Nobody wants to talk about my son or what happened, much less look at his pictures, and it is all about how they can’t cope. I realize everyone grieves in their own ways and in their own time but family should surely be there in your low times, right? I have seen it both ways for other women who have gone through this type of loss, so I’m not convinced my family is right or wrong on how they dealt with it. I am sure of one thing…I felt extremely alone ,besides being with my husband. Moving along, we finally got a blessing in the form of our newest son ,last year. This was surely a bitter sweet celebration and my family was there every step of the way right? Well, almost right, they were there in the beginning and started disappearing after the first month. In the hospital I got visitors while I was in labor, but then after I had him….one or two visitors. Once again everybody was busy, and for some it was legit but not so much with others. I have to wonder if my being there for everyone else had gone unnoticed or was it just taken for granted. My sister had so many visitors the month prior, when she had her son, she could hardly keep track. This has been the theme since as far back as I can recall. Do I just suffer from middle child syndrome? Is it all in my head? Am I just too sensitive ,as my dad tells me? There are times my birthday has been forgotten or overlooked but parties were had for my siblings. Sorry I’m getting off track a bit but the question remains, is it just me? Do I deserve less than my siblings or other family members? Don’t get me wrong, there have been good times and many times where they have helped beyond what is expected, but it gets overshadowed by these times of utter heartbreak and disappointment. So I guess the question is…Do we expect too much of family? Am I ungreatful? Does everyone go through this? Should I just get over it or is it ok to acknowledge that these things suck majorly? Mainly I just try to look at the positive and I continue to forgive even when I won’t forget or can’t forget. It’s a work in progress and I have to continue to tell myself to stop feeling sorry for myself. I remind myself ,people have it way worse then me. Look at all the wars going on and plane crashes and natural disasters, surely I can find lots of things to be grateful for. I do thank God daily for all he has done for me and for waking up each day. Some days I just can’t help but get angry at my family and I am human after all. Any comments or opinions are welcome but please don’t use foul language or say anything super unsettling.
This topic has been on my mind for awhile. Do you have many close friends that you have known since childhood? Do you have many best friends or a close circle of friends from college or work that are your core group for many years? Are you looking to expand beyond these circles or are there no openings left for your circle? Do you only keep cousins or family members as friends, no outsiders welcome? Can you maintain a friendship over time, with periods of time where you aren’t in contact and can you pick up where you left off like no time has passed? What would you breakup with a friend over and could they ever get a second chance with you? These are a few questions popping up with me and some people I have talked to about friendships recently.
The first thing I think I need work on is when to let go of a friend for good and to stop giving second and third and fourth chances to people. I am always afraid to burn bridges because I find myself being to harsh a judge when someone crosses me or hurts me. This very issue then causes me to give people the benefit of the doubt too many times because previously I may have been to quick to cut someone out. I have trust issues like anyone else and I put my walls up quickly as I get older. I find myself asking the question…have I been a good enough friend or not. I found in my 20s and 30s I had so many friends I couldn’t keep count. My social life was more than anyone could ask for. I was hardly home and when I wasn’t working I was making time for all of my friends. I only ever trusted one or two of them 100 percent. The funny thing is, those are the one or two that left me in the dust when my life didn’t seem exactly like theirs anymore.
I thought being diverse was a good thing but I guess I was wrong. I have always been able to get along with just about anyone on some level, even if I found things “wrong” with them. Hell, I even found the good in my enemies. At some point in my late twenties I realized that I enjoyed the company of people different then myself. I enjoyed traveling and trying things outside my comfort zone or social norms. Nothing out of the ordinary but in keeping with the natural maturing process. I became open minded I suppose and this should be a good thing. In doing so I met my husband and he was so vastly different then guys I was used to dating, but in a good way. He showed me a new world so to speak. We travel places and experience life in a much different way then just the everyday ordinary things most of us are used to. It seems this contributed to my circle of friends growing smaller and smaller. My husband has a different culture and faith then I was used to. This is part of what drew me to him. Friends I was hanging around with, some since childhood, didn’t give him a chance because he was different and apparently wrong for not liking the exact things they did. It started with the usual excuses…Something came up and I have to cancel, I have to work and my favorite one…I’m sorry but I have made plans the entire summer and I won’t be around. This person was a good friend and eventually faded to the background by their own choice. They felt it was ok for them to go and do different things or get engulfed in their relationships, but if I didn’t literally include them in every date with my boyfriend I was somehow a bad friend and he was taking up all of my time. In any case as the summer of being busy quickly grew into years of being busy , I too dropped the ball on that friendship. I had questioned whether I was being unfair or not until this friend started telling me how things had to be. For example, if your fiancé does this or that and believes this or that, well then it is ok to marry him. I didn’t realize I needed to get permission or acceptance from my friend for this. Anyway as time went on I didn’t even talk or text this friend since I felt it should be a two way street ,and I was getting tired of trying to patch things up. Years go by and I had always tried to make a new start when I would run into this friend but it never panned out. My feelings were hurt but I just kept quiet when they continued to have dinners or parties with our other friends. Then we move on to people I met at work or otherwise who can’t seem to remember you unless your right in their face and doing what they are doing. You start a family and suddenly they can’t relate and they disappear. You meet new people at a party etc and think well let’s expand the circle but you find out some people don’t want new friends. I didn’t even know this was a thing. Some people only socialize with family for this reason. I find it all to be too much work and therefor I don’t really put the effort in anymore. With all the social media these days, people just delete you out of their life for posting something annoying on your wall. When did people become so heartless and in some cases mindless. They view your page daily for new pics or to enjoy your failures but they are never around for your successes or to pick you up when your down. Bullies are not just teens, tweens or other schoolmates anymore. Grown men and women bully in the workplace and on social media without consequence. There are some laws in place now which are great but how did we become like this? I learned that people gravitate to people they envy or whom they consider to have less than them in life. They want to be around people who can give them things or experiences they don’t already have. An example: If I had a boat or a large house with a pool and fancy outdoor barbecue, people are going to gravitate towards free boat trips and free food and spirits. When you have nothing or even are content in life, people find you useless unless you experience strife or misfortune and they feel they can fulfill their need to “help” in some way. Otherwise they sit around like teenagers and say ,oh did you here this or that and she can’t afford a boat or she doesn’t drink…something must be wrong with her. Or better yet they talk about your misfortune or how you are stuck at home with the baby while your spouse works, but never offer to help or keep you company. This is where family or that occasional true life long friend come in handy but as I say those are few and far between. So when a friend can’t seem to find time for you after you have suffered tragedy in life or can’t bother to be around for your happy times unless they have to gain from it…is it ok to cut them off? When do you stop making excuses for them? You seem to try to be there for everyone or wish them happy birthday or congrats on your promotion or engagement but they don’t do the same in return. Was it always this way or am I being to critical? Do other people overlook these shortcomings and this is how they continue in these friendships? I learned so much about people and friendships over the years to find out that it really is each man for himself. Is it too much to ask for real true friendships? The kind where you can pick up where you left off after life gets in the way, or the kind where you check in on each other when things get rough. The kind where you can’t wait to plan a baby shower or birthday and they are the first to help you. Does this exist anymore? So I had a baby and forgot to call you and text you daily or I don’t have time for dinner because I don’t have a sitter. Are these crimes? It’s funny when your someone’s biggest cheerleader and they leave you in the dust because your busy living a new chapter of life. When you suffer the loss of a loved one ,these folks are nowhere to be found after the dust settles. They can’t bother to call you or text you to say….hey I know the last few months/yrs have been tough on you…let me take you out for a cup of coffee to talk about it or get your mind off of it. Instead they criticize you behind your back for growing distant. I just wonder if I am the only one who feels guilty when I’m a bad friend and try to make things right with old friends. Am I the only one who gets left in the dust when starting a family , after knowing how important it was to you and how bad you wanted it? What does it take to call someone a true friend these days? I don’t care for the empty ” let’s get together” chatter people make without any intent of doing so. It’s why I avoid going out of my way at the supermarket or the mall when I see an old friend. If I don’t mean it , I’m not gonna say it a few dozen times and then question why we never did get that cup of coffee. My problem is ,I will boldly say something like…maybe it’s because you had no intention on picking up the phone, perhaps your too busy or maybe it’s because your an arse. Any-who, this is my rant on friendships. It seems to cause to much of a headache to maintain or start up new friendships these days. Maybe as I get older I’m getting more cynical then I was in my youth. It was not my intention but I just find it harder to put up with peoples nonsense. Please feel free to comment or ask questions on this topic.
So I have decided this blog may turn into a potpourri of topics. I have so many things I want to put out there for discussion and since having a baby my picture obsession has been put aside for now. So if it seems weird posts come up then
you will know why. Posts should be coming soon.