My dad took this picture a long time ago. You can tell that I have a tiny family. My parents separated when I was 15, and by separated I mean that Mom, my brother and I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Portland, Oregon the summer before my junior year of high school. They divorced a year later, and I can count the number of times I went back to Indiana on one hand.
I’m sure life wasn’t easy raising two teens in a strange town by herself, with no friends or family nearby. She started working, which was hard with no work experience since she married. My brother and I didn’t make life extremely easy for her, but according to her college friends, it was a “most exciting life”.
My brother and I made friends quickly at school and even more at the skating rink, where we spent every available evening with Mom in tow. I loved my mom for her stability and respectability in the midst of a chaotic times. Mom would sometimes let us take our friends to dinner. Some of our newly chosen friends were downright characters, and had the mouths of sailors, which my younger brother and I found hilarious. So Mom made “restaurant rules”. The only two I still remember was no talking about sex and bloody operations at the table. We all thought that was hilarious, so we loved baiting her. Poor Mama. But she made it and lived to be 80 years old, and much beloved by both children.
Although neither of my parents ever remarried, my brother and I had grandparents and great grandparents. My parents were both only children. So that eliminated aunts, uncles and cousins, except for “gray aunts”, as I dubbed my grandfather’s sisters when I was about 2. Even my mother’s mother was an only child. My mother had one cousin a year older than she, whom I met for the FIRST time LAST YEAR! There were some “gray aunts” on my father’s side as well, and some of them married and had children whom I knew slightly when I was a child. I think he had two cousins on his mom’s side, and one or two on his dad’s side.
My brother and I both married, but had no children. That eliminated nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, etc. I’ve had two husbands, the first one passed away of a genetic disorder when he was 47, and I remarried. I have one step-son by my second marriage, but no grandchildren. My second husband also has a brother and sister, and his brother has two children, but no grandchildren. His sister never married.
They say you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. Well that’s certainly been helpful for me. I have wonderful friends who have become my family. Now I write this blog, which started out as an experiment in blogging. It has become more than that. Each day I write to leave a record of who I am and have been to pass on to someone who might be interested enough to read this. My friends, yes, but more than that.
You can’t choose your family. That means something totally different as I sit here and write this. I destroyed 20 years of journals so that no one would find them and discover the real me – you know the mean, selfish, sinful person I am inside, the stuff YOU tell YOUR SISTER – I write out to get rid of all that poison. Yeah, those journals are gone forever – along with all the good stuff I wrote – book reviews, poems, lesson plans, etc. I couldn’t choose who would see those when I was gone, and it was sad to think of someone else just tossing them, or worse – READING them, so I shredded them.
So back to the family thing. When I started blogging, I discovered that some things that I write people actually read, and respond back to me. Paula says she reads every day. Others say they read on a regular basis. My husband has even started reading my blog. Do you know how wonderful that makes me feel??? It’s amazing.
Can I choose my family? Even my “pretend” or adopted family? I can’t even choose them. How would I ever know who will care enough to read the record of my life? Some of YOU will read and respond. I can’t tell you how much it means to me. I’ve always been a talker, but writing is different. I toil over my words when I write, and I put my heart into them. When you read my writing, you know my heart and my soul – sour and sore as it may be from time to time. When you choose to read my writing, you chose to become my family, in a remote sort of way.
So thanks for reading and caring. Now that I’ve confided in you the real reason I’m writing this journal, it’s only fair for you to tell me. For whom do you write your blog and why?