Thursday, November 24, 2011

With Thanksgiving...

This Thanksgiving Day brings with it some reflection.  As I sit and think about Thanksgivings past I think of my mother.  I think of Thanksgivings gone by with a family that no longer is around to get together and I think of all the Thanksgivings I missed.  You see I chose not to attend many family get togethers in order to attend the ones with the family I had married in to.  I think at first I believed that my family wouldn't miss me.  I also truly thought I was going towards a family that was like what I always thought a family should look like.  In my family someone was always drinking, everyone was always smoking, and we all sort of waited to see what my aunt would bring to the table.  She would either bring some guy or she would be using and either yelling at everyone or catatonic.  When I looked at that I saw what I didn't want my children to see.  When I saw the other option I thought that was what they should be.  I was wrong.  Do not get me wrong I still believe that I was right to protect my children from the bad things that came with going to my mother's side of the family but I also protected them from how to handle those situations. 

Far from perfect, they knew how to love each other and they knew how to stand up to one another.  They made very difficult decisions regarding their own over the years.  They tried to get my aunt help and they took her children away from her when it was evident that she would be unable to care for them.  While they still smoked, it was that they would eventually only go outside to smoke at grandma's house because of what it was eventually doing to her.  While ideally they would have quit, they did attempt to do what they were capable of. 

As I sit here reflecting with my mom, my grandma, my two aunts all gone, I am sad for the years I missed.  Not knowing how quickly time runs out and how once those moments are gone they are gone for good.  I think of all the get togethers with my dad's side of the family I have missed.  How I really only see all of them a couple times a year and it makes me sad.  Sad that as adults my cousins and I don't really know each other or our kids very well at all. 

I do not have siblings.  As a child I dreamed of having a big brother and a little sister.  I needed a big brother to stick up for me and a little sister so I could do her hair.  In my imagination we wouldn't fight because we would  be so thankful to have one another.  Because in my house it was me, my mom, a dog, and a man that was not kind, but abusive.  As I watched television and looked at all the family shows I looked at those families and wished to have one of my own.  My father remarried when I was 25 I was given two brothers and a sister.  I was excited by the prospect and for several years tried all I knew to do to make us one big happy family.  I have given up that dream.  You cannot make a family with unwilling participants.  After all they have each other they do not need me. 

I am far from perfect.  I can do nothing on my own.  God has given me a beautiful family.  My husband and I have the family that I always hoped to have.  For that I am thankful. 

This year will be the first that my children and I will get to spend with my father's side of the family.  I am so blessed to get to spend time with them today.  I am sad however, that because of one we will not be spending time with my husband's side.  If I was taught anything by my broken family I was taught to say no.  I was taught that when one's behavior was unacceptable you say it.  And for nothing else I am also thankful that I was taught not to try and place blame on others for my own mistakes.  Your mistakes are your own, ultimately you choose to do what you do, no one makes that decision for you.  You do that all by yourself.  I was also taught you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.  You cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves.  At some point you have to say while you are making the decision to act this way I am unable to support you.  You are going to have to learn to get by on your own.  And while I am being singled out for not supporting  or getting caught up in others drama, I think maybe no.  No I will not get involved because it is evident to me that they do not know how to stand up to their own and it is not my place to do so. 

I have lived through and seen countless things all drama filled.  But here in my home with these people that God has blessed me with, I am saying no.  I am saying no because we are happy.  We are happy and we are thankful on this day and every other day for the blessings we have received.  We are not perfect.  But we are learning to look past the circus of drama around us and see our blessings, for they are many.  We are healthy, we are loved, and we are serving our God, all the while begging for forgiveness from Him and doing our best to do His will.  My wish for you is that you will be able to do the same.