Friday, September 30, 2005

Untitled.

My husband's family is kind of nutty. Everyone's up each other's butts, everyone knows everyone else's business, they gossip about what they know, and if they don't know anything they speculate and over several repetitions, speculation often becomes believed as fact. But I love them (well, most of them). It's very cool for me to be a part of a big busy family, because mine is so opposite of this.

Go back a few generations and there were plenty of us, but they're all dead now. I have one brother. My mom has one brother and my dad is an only child. I have two cousins that I really don't even know. My husband has 62 first cousins alone. 62!

But that's not the part that bothers me.

My parents' parents were wonderful people. Loving, caring, and supportive of their children. But they were SO up in their business. My mom and my dad were virtually smothered by their parents while they grew up. My mother left her hometown to go to a college many miles away just to have some elbow room. My dad stayed in his hometown for college because his parents wouldn't allow him to go away.

Attributed to this, my parents have always been very adamant about not intruding on my brother's and my life once we were grown and on our own. They said it was because they knew what it was like to have your parents always around, cramping your style when you're trying to start your life, and they didn't want to be that way with us.

I'm not saying they don't love us. I know they do. They were wonderful providers and teachers and have always been there for us when we needed them. But extenuating circumstances aside, I have barely seen them at all but a few times a year since I've been out on my own. And even since the birth of our son, we practically have to beg them to come over. They are always up for a visit from us if they're around, but I bet they haven't visited me 5 times in 10 years.

They visit my brother a lot. He is the oldest and all, and has 2 kids. But my brother lives on the other side of the country. They live less than an hour away from me.

The truth of the matter is, I have often wondered if they just didn't want to be around me anymore.

16 comments:

Erin said...

I LOVE your blog!! I couldn't sleep and so was sitting here randomly browsing blogs and I've stumbled upon yours. I love your storytelling. My long-term boyfriend's family is quite the piece of work.
Anyhow, thanks for the great read. Feel free to check out my blog at www.burrwati.blogspot.com

Lori said...

No, that cannot be true! I guarantee, they love you, clew...

Your parents sound JUST like my husband. When he was growing up, and even into his adulthood, he says his mother was riding him constantly and that he vowed he would never do that to his own children. He has three daughters from his first marriage and though I know he loves them (they're grown and on their own) he rarely calls them and never goes to visit. Since I came onto the scene just four years ago, it's hard to know how to approach it all. He is who he is.

I, on the other hand, come from a large family of six children (I have 35 first cousins) and our family was - and is - very, very close. We have gone on family vacations together, once in '99 another in '01 (24 of us in all) and had a blast! We're actually fairly quiet people, but enjoy each other so much. The children absolutely love it and we almost fight over who gets to have Mom and Dad ride in their car!

Just tonight I was thinking I really need to call my stepdaughters. After reading your post, I KNOW I must...

Bainwen Gilrana said...

*hugs*

Family dynamics are the hardest things in the world to figure out.

My family is very loud and boisterous, and we do tend to get up in each other's business. Or at least the 8 of us who are closest do-- my mom and stepdad, brother and me, aunt, uncle, and two cousins. We're loud and exuberant and very demonstrative of any feelings, good or bad. And the fact of our love for each other has never been a question.

I'm the quietest of all of us, and the exuberance sometimes wears on me. I thought for awhile it would be nice to have a family more like my ex's family-- they are very quiet, very non-demonstrative, very non-pressure. But over time, I saw that the way my ex had grown up meant that I could never be sure of what he was feeling because he'd never learned to express it. And that is not something I'd want to do to my own future babies.

Clew, your parents must love you. I don't see how they couldn't.

Harry Yak said...

i don't know what to say. my heart goes out to you.

martie said...

Wow.....!I'm sure that in their quest for letting you live your own life and not have parents "cramping your style" they didn't mean for you to feel this way. Talk to them about your feelings.....it can't hurt anymore than it already does.

naive-no-more said...

I agree with Martie Clew. How can anyone not want you around. You are a light of inspiration and honesty. You may be fretting over something that isn't even real. Talk to them. Trust me.

TC said...

How sad to feel the way you do. I am so sorry.

I agree with Lori, her husband sounds like he is in the same place as your parents.

Bougie Black Boy said...

you need to come to nyc, and i'll show you a good time. I'm family!
:)

btw, that picture, that sketch is amazing. where'd you find it? unless you drew it.

McSwain said...

Awwww... Wouldn't it be nice if we could get that darned pendulum to settle in the middle instead of swinging wildly from one side to the other?

Ruben said...

Parents are weird. One minute they are all over you and then they can be distant. Would you like to trade parents?

Rebecca said...

Aaaah Clew. You and I need to talk. I often have the same feelings about my parents. They were wonderful when I was child - but once I turned 18 - it was like they lost interest? Or felt their job was done??? They never visited me, or called to initiate a visit. I always have to throw a big dinner for them to come over, and even then, it was a "maybe, we'll see". They used similar reasoning when I'd tell them I was upset and dissapointed with their lack of involvement - and they too would say "we don't want to overstep", or "we're letting you live your life". I'd always argue back that if they pushed their opinions on me, then fine - that would be intruding. But to not participate at all?? The final straw with me was that they moved out of state when my son was 11 months. Not to retire...my parents are only in their 50's. Why? Just because they wanted to. So they've left behind two daughters, one with no in law family to speak of (that would be me),and three beautiful grandchildren (actually, now 4) that they don't know. Most people live for grandparents! My kids, unfortunately - have none. And to me, that was the most dissapointing, lack of participation that anyone could ever do to me. It felt like a rejection of my children. I just don't get some people. I was glad to read your post and realize I wasn't the only one - although I'm really sorry you feel that way.

Mike said...

Parents just don't understand!

Rebecca said...

I just reread my post - to clarify: I do NOT have 4 children!!!! I have 2, and my sister has 2, hence the 4. And, I mean most people live to be grandparents.... Sorry, I get a little emotional about this subject and wasn't into proofreading. ;) Happy Saturday...

dondon009 said...

Are we sharing the same parents... the only difference is that my parents think my sister is a Diva while they think I'm the Hippie from HELL! No clue why, really. I think it could be because I went away to college at 17 and never really came home again. My sister on the other hand stayed home until she got married.... and remained in the same hometown forever. I spread my wings and flew! You write beautifully!

Tirithien said...

There needs to be some kind of balance. My father has never been the most open of men with emotion, but I know how he feels. My mom? When I move out next year, I won't make it ten seconds without her calling.

You'll find that balance, Clew my dear. Maybe there's something they're stuck on, some reason they think you want to be alone.

Pirate said...

big families are like spice racks with many spices jars unlabeled and ready for tasting.