I have once again spent the day traveling from one home (my parents’ house) to another (my house) after a 10-day visit.
Everyone in my family is facing different challenges right now. Bodies have aged and changed; relationships have aged and changed; kids have aged and changed. For some of us, simple pleasures such as eating and sleeping are nowhere near as carefree as they once were. Some of our faculties are fading to a greater or lesser degree. We have various aches and pains, both specific and vague. In some cases, professional ambitions are not being realized, and some of our dreams have had to be deferred so long that they might evaporate altogether.
In none of this are we unique, either as individuals or as a family. Everyone has challenges. Everyone has disappointments.
What I realized on my long, long drive from there to here is that just as none of us is uniquely challenged, none of us is to blame. Really, no one is. Life happens to us all, giving and taking and continually redefining “normal.” I have been struggling this past year or so to play the hand life has dealt me and be grateful for all that I have rather than upset about what I lack. My results have been, to say the least, uneven.
And when I go home, to “the bosom of the family,” as we say, I stop trying to put on a brave face and stiffen my upper lip to get through the days, and I just kind of dissolve into my insecurities and my fears sometimes because I know I’m in a safe place to do so. But I forget that everyone else is dealing with their own stuff, and that they don’t have the emotional or physical energy to deal with mine, too. I can be selfish when I’m with my family … not to mention needy and sniveling and grumpy and demanding. I am really sorry for that.
I am very fortunate to have a family that loves me anyway, even at my worst, and continuously keeps the flame alight for me at my best. It is for them as much as for myself that I get up and enter the fray every day.