Tuesday, July 12, 2011

F, A, M, I, L, Y

Recently, Reading a few blogs that are participating in the Summer Camp and a few other blogs on family and friendship have had my brain stirring. Well, truth be told, these thoughts were already swirling around my head but these blogs sparked more dribbles of thoughts/concerns that I have had ever since I have created my own family and trying to establish our own family values and traditions.

If I had to categorize my family, we seem pretty average. Nothing more, nothing less. My mother,when I was growing up, was extremely accommodating, available, and very gentle but not a push over. She was a elementary teacher by trade but chose stayed at home after I was born.

My father, a commercial shrimper until I was 14 yrs old, was the fun but disciplinary unit. He would be gone for weeks at a time. He would come in for a few days and then load up the boats and go back out. It was a family business, therefore He would be out with his cousins/uncles and my mom and I would hang out with my dad side of the family (cousins, aunts, etc) or we would travel to the towns that they were going to unload their boats in.

When I turned 5, my mother wanted to pick a location to settle into. We had a house in North Carolina. When we would come to FL, we stayed at my Aunt and Uncles house. My dad's family seemed to be shrimping more in FL. I am unsure how the decision was made but after my 5th birthday in July, I started kindergarten at a school a block from my aunt/uncle's house in FL. Eventually, They ended up selling the house in NC and buying a house in FL and giving me a baby sister . (actually the same house my family is sharing w my parents now)

After we officially moved here, my mother got us involved in a very youth oriented active church. My sister and I both attended youth events there from elementary school age all the way through high school. During those HS years for me, I found it challenging to attend but was mandated on many occasions to attend by my parents.

Since my parents moved to us FL, my mother's side of the family never seemed to make time for us Unless We would travel to see them. Her mother was very upset/bitter by the move and still continues to be bitter over it 30 yrs later. My mom has 1 younger brother (5yr younger) that is very involved in his work and making his company.

So, somehow 600 miles has put a wedge huge canyon in our relationships. I can honestly count on 1 hand how many times my maternal grandmother/father, uncle and aunt have come to visit us in Fl over the past 30 yrs of living in this town. But I can verify w/ photographic proof that my mother (and/or) father took us every summer and Christmas until we graduated high school to spend time visiting our family. We did spend Easters, minor holidays and thanksgivings with them up until I entered high school and other things interfered with traveling. But Summer and Christmas was mandatory. Non negotiable - and no way we could get them to come visit us in Fl instead. As I got older, I recognized how 1 sided this had become and expressed my opinion to many. Feelings got hurt and some visits were strained and tense. In my college days, there were a mix of rebellious, different priorities, jobs, homework and a lose of interest pleasing one sided relationships. I did not go as often as we did as when we were younger and were mandated (by my grandmother guilting my mom for all her life into anything) to go.

I know it all sounds like a poorly written, dead end ramble but to me it made me realize things about my mother and her/our family unit. My mom has turned into her mother and allowing the same things that hindered my relationship w my grandmother growing up to affect our relationship and her relationship w my children. The expectations my mother has for my children are the same as my grandmother's expectations for my sister and I. They want them around BUT they do not want to be bothered by them. They want them to sit quietly on the floor and read or play anything quietly and orderly. Never getting messy or creating a mess. Do as they tell them to do and use their imagination and creativity....Quietly, orderly, structurally, politely and respectfully. Well they go about their daily tasks and interactions. I am unsure of WHY this is -But it is. And it causes the most friction in our relationships.

*apparently I have so much to say about this that I already am drafting 2 or 3 more blogs on this topic. who knew this would be part 1 ...too be continued


HereWeGoAJen said...

Family is hard. And I can't believe anyone could think that toddlers can NOT make a mess.

Barb said...

oh ugh Farah. I'm sorry for all that. I wish you had much easier sailing.

Delenn said...

Being far away from family is a blessing and a curse. We moved 800 miles away, and have similar issues with some fam members...my.BIL has not visited us in over 100 years. Sometimes our friends are better at relationships with our kids. ((Hugs))

Delenn said...

um, post above was not meant to be hyperbolic--I meant t.e.n. (10) years. :-)