Joining in with Five Minute Friday. This week’s word: Family.
The psychiatrist asked me what my childhood had been like. Seeing me stumbling (it was – is – rather an enormous question), he asked, “If you could describe it in one word, what word would you choose?” I chose ideal. Followed up – between tears – with happy, joyous, beautiful and a torrent of other positive, life-affirming words (I couldn’t have asked for a better childhood).
Why the tears? Because I, a Mama, have been unable to offer my children the same sort of childhood and that, for me, is one of my greatest failures: one that I’ve had, and will continue to have, great difficulties overcoming.
Isn’t it, after all, the job of a Mama to make sure her children are safe? That their life is comfortable and free of stress/upset/heartache?
The Dr. moved on, then, to my impressions of their father’s childhood (one I had only come to know of many years after we were married). I explained briefly: his father died when he was four, his mother abandoned him, he was passed around between various Aunts, each of whom seemed to treat him worse than the others. A Grimm fairy tale of a childhood if ever there was one.
“Ah”, the Dr said, “…that explains it. His complete lack of effort to keep his family together and his complete lack of remorse about the effects on your children”. [“Well, yes, Dr, I’d kind of figured that one out by myself, thank you” I chided, mentally]. “He’s repeating his past, because that’s all he’s ever known”, I heard the Dr saying (finding I just couldn’t be bothered to actively listen any longer).
And I found the tears rolling again. I hurt for him too, for all the years he experienced without love. For all the moments he, himself, must have felt so totally alone. For the things that did to him, for the warps it caused and the pain this, in turn, has caused my children.
But there aren’t enough tears in the world to cry away all that pain and chains of pain have to be broken so, as I said to the Dr, we’re a family, a smaller family, a family that’s been through things no family should ever experience, things no child should ever have to witness, but we’re strong.
You see, there’s a lot of love in our three-member family. A lot. So much love it spills out, actually, all over the place. So much love that people remark on it.
It’s definitely an extraordinary love.
A love that comforts, that covers them both whole, that slowly – just like the waves in a river smoothing the stones shiny – is covering all the hurt, erasing all the trauma. There’ll always be memories, bad memories, but with this kind of love, those memories lose their power.
We’re a family of three. Surrounded by love. Made whole, again, by love.
Yes, bad things have happened but love conquers all.
“Let your children see your majesty” He says. I’m a great believer in that. Light and love from above cast only love-filled, hope-filled, shadows, and this is enabling them – my two precious children – to find their footing again, to rise glorious in the face of it all.
They’re my family. They’re my all.
My boy. My girl.
[I love you]
[Difficult post to think about and to write and a difficult word this week, in light of the events in Oregon – and the events in Syria and the Syrian refugee crisis – my heart longs for the world to realise that we’re all family. Until we develop this consciousness, as a race, I wonder how many more tragedies we have to read about on a daily basis?]