Saturday, June 5, 2010

Apples and other apples

Next month makes four years since I moved here. In that time only one member of my family has ever come here to see me, her nephew, or her sister-in-law. We have received a visit from my sister Ari and her family when she was on a road trip that went through here.
I am not playing a blame game here - just stating some facts; I am not so good at staying in touch myself so maybe it runs in the family. Or maybe it is just me. But my take on relationships is that it is rarely just one sided when they work and when they don't work - relationships don't have to be two way streets but they really should be.
It was also about this time six years ago that I moved from Nevada to Arizona in an effort to get closer to my family. Unfortunately, I didn't really feel like relationships were really restored when I finally moved away. But the fact is I have moved to be closer and I have spent money and vacation time to go see my family members. Still, I would like a visit and I have made invitations from time to time only to hear excuse after excuse - money is tight (my money is tight too), we don't have the time (nobody ever 'has' the time), we can't travel (in parentheses 'to see you' because the people who say that make trips when they really want to), or the 'it's your fault we don't come' excuse -- "we don't know what your situation is" (all I can say to that is LAME - that is why you SHOULD visit). I have my excuses as well but, mostly, I would just like to get visited a few times before I go out of my way again. It makes a person feel important or even loved - precisely because visiting tends to involve going out of a person's way.
But families are what they are and any time you start looking for things that you think they should be you are bound to be disappointed - mostly because that sort of looking for usually involves comparing one family to another. Even if that is like comparing apples to apples there is the problem of only seeing the skin of most other apples - we rarely know all the worms that some other family is or has been dealing with out of view of other people. All a person can do is take them (or leave them) for what they are - just accept the situation and decide if it is something you want in your life. If you know you're living on a one way street you just have to accept that fact because fighting it doesn't turn a one way street into a two way street. My therapist (don't pretend you don't need one yourself) has told me that if experience has shown me that I have to make all the visits myself to have a relationship then the only question I should be asking myself should be whether I want a relationship or not rather than stressing over reciprocation. Perhaps not the answer I would like, but it is what it is.
All of Becky's immediate family and many members of her extended family have come many times to see her and Gabe in the last four years. Both her parents work and deal with health problems themselves. They have to make arrangements to have other people watch their animals as well. That sort of loyalty (call it love?) just runs in her family though. I am glad Gabe is learning that from them.
The one good thing about not hearing from everybody in my family (it is a big family, afterall) is that it saves me cell phone minutes. Becky and her mom both go over their minutes on a regular basis because they talk too much to family.


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  3. whatever - I didn't say all of what you read into that. But good for you.

  4. I really hate the way some blog posts start arguments. Family is too important for all of that. Sometimes it takes a little more effort on everyone's part to make relationships work, but it always requires effort on all of our parts. I do not call my in-laws like I should. I try to respond to emails and Facebook stuff, but admittedly, that simply is not enough. I often think I have said "thanks" for gifts Gabe receives, but old age or flakiness... I imagine that I forget more times than I realize or want to admit to.
    My family has come to visit us. They have taken time and money to do that because that is how my family is. Not all families are that way, though, and that is probably neither good or bad.... it just IS. I know you want that, though, and even with all we are going through right not, I hope that I can provide that for you and Gabe.
    Now I know I am not the best mom, but I try to be a good one. I am the best I know how to be. I know I am not the best wife, but I have done what I know how to do. I AM the best sister (LOL... just kidding...)... I perform that to the best that can, and Rog does the same). I KNOWS I am not the best daughter-in-law or sister-in-law. I am sorry. Once again, I do what I have learned to do in that respect. But I know I can stand to improve in all of these capacities. So... to all of the relatives reading this blog.... I am sorry if I have been less than I should. I will try to be better. I tried to get out to Phoenix to be nearer to the majority, but it was not in the cards. I was doing this because I care about family. I love you all and want everyone to be close. I told Ari this a long time ago... you only get so much time with your family. My family (the birth-fam... not the in-laws) are very close. This is true, for sure. I am very fortunate, and I am thankful every day for the support and ove I get from them all, uncles, aunts, and cousins included. They are the best I could have ever asked for. Not everyone has that same sort of family. But some families are awful... and none of mine is that. Not my direct or my n-laws. They are all wonderful, but all different. Do I wish we could see more of them all? Oh yes!But we all have our own lives and we all have our own set of priorities. Not bad or good... different.
    I wanted to let you know that I love you all and hope that I can help to raise Gabe so that he knows you all.


  5. Typos are to be expected... I cannot see my screen. I typed outside as Gabe is swimming...

  6. Becky - I love my family. That's the problem I have with vague-ish "my-family-sucks" posts. I'm not trying to start or engage in an argument. I left a long comment and then realized that I meant it only for Michael and not for all of his readers so I deleted it.

    It sounds like you saw some or all of my response. Just so you know, I wasn't complaining about gifts not being acknowledged per se--I know that people get busy and I'm terrible at acknowledging things myself. I'm not looking for thanks--I was using the gifts as indication that the one-way street he's living on may not be as one-way as he thinks it is. I haven't visited, but I've tried to send gifts and stay in touch in ways that haven't been reciprocated either. That's just how it goes sometimes. I'm not complaining. Sometimes people show their love and concern in different ways.

    I finished my response by suggesting that he try counting his blessings instead of just his hardships. Life is hard, especially with some of the situations he's facing, but it doesn't help to blame other people. Isn't there an old saying ... you attract more flies with honey ... as hard as it is to be sweet sometimes, a little kindness, understanding, and forgiveness can go a long way. No one's perfect, but I know my mom tries very hard and I feel bad when she seems to be the target of so much disappointment and vitriol. (although, honestly, I thought I was also a target at first because I'm in NY for SeungHee's graduation ... but I think I'm more defensive of my mom than I am of myself) She's just a person too....a person with eight kids, a sick husband, and three and a half grandkids who all go through their own personal crises from time-to-time. Not everyone agrees with me, but I admire and love my mom more than I can say.