Monday, June 30, 2008

The Family Dynamic

Since about ten o'clock yesterday morning, I have felt the need of a good cry. I have held off, hoping for some private moment to let it all hang out: loud sobbing sadness and frustration, hiccuping satisfaction. In the meantime, I've given a lot of thought to what this melancholy is all about.

I don't know about your family, but when mine gets together, whether it's my children, my husband, and I or my father and siblings, it seems to me that we revert to childhood roles. No matter what degree of mental health and happiness we've achieved in real life, we fall right back into the shyness, silliness, pestering, ugliness, stupidity, fill-in-the-blank-here-inadequacy we felt when we were young.

What I felt most this weekend was that I was annoying the hell out of a few key people. And what annoyed them, it seemed to me, was that I wanted to share things with them. Things I learned from blogs, things I was doing with my writing, random thoughts. And every time I got this signal that they didn't give a fizzy fug about anything I was saying, I felt sad. And boring. And yes, annoying.

What is this about for me? That when I was a child, my mother and father weren't good listeners, distracted with themselves, their work, their troubles? I don't know about all the psychological mumbo jumbo that adds up to how I've felt these past few days, but I do know that it has made me long to be with people who don't necessarily agree with me or share my interests, but are respectful enough to let me have my say, brag a little on what's going on in my life, share a story or two.

I don't usually get this personal in my blog, but you saw the pictures and it all looked great, didn't it? And there were some incredible moments, like at dinner when we each turned to the person beside us and told her what we loved about her. And when we faced off in pairs, jumped up and down and went WHOO WHOO WHOO until the room exploded into belly laughs. Or when I took each of my three daughters out separately and caught up on their comings and goings.

When I said good-bye to the sister whose birthday it was, I cried a little then. I laughed and told her that I'd read somewhere, "Don't cry because it's over; smile because it happened." Now that I'm home, where I feel pretty good about myself and my life, I think I'll work on that smile. I'm always grateful for the time I spend with my family, our health, and our memories, and I'm going to dwell on that now that I've had a chance to speak of how I felt. Thanks for listening.

3 comments:

G Liz said...

Mamie, I think you have described exactly the way most people feel when they spend time with their families...at least for me!!!

It's odd, but yes, we do in fact revert back to those roles it seems. But for me, something else has happened as well. Although at one point extremely close (and yes, we still are), time together with loved ones shows just how we do grow in our different directions. My sisters and I have some quirky similarities (and we ALWAYS will), yet we each have become very different people as we have grown older. VERY DIFFERENT. And at times, we each find it hard to recognize or accept those differences I believe.

My younger sister seems to be the most serious of us, with a long term relationship and a future in medicine.

My older sister is the 'queen' in some ways...the beauty consultant, the teacher...and because she's the oldest, she definitely assumes a position of 'knowing it all' (although we all three are guilty of this!)

As for me, well...I'm seen as the wild one...the crazy one...the unrealistic one...I am called 'nuttaroo' by my oldest sister, and often times my serious little sister rolls her eyes at me. I doubt either take me very seriously, and it can be very frustrating. I think, because I am not conventional, I am not considered responsible in their eyes.

I was watching a documentary on Steven Tyler the other day and observing just how unique of a man he is...so very talented...but OH SO VERY DIFFERENT...and I smiled to myself and said, "Hell, none of the normal folks ever become famous!" And so, I do very much believe it is a gift to be 'different' and although the pressure can be intense at times, as is the criticism, I decided to embrace that zaniness about myself and stop trying so hard to mold into a form that is NOT me!

I didn't plan on going on for so long myself! I just want you to know that you are very special, VERY MUCH LOVED AND RESPECTED, and I am so very glad to have you in my life.

AND WHAT YOU FEEL IS VERY NORMAL! :-)

mamie said...

Gina, thank you for that beautiful addendum to my post. It's always good to be reminded that the same things happen in every family, that we're not all that unique in our foibles, and that others understand! Yes, you are definitely one-of-a-kind. And that's what I love the most about you. Well, that and your stories of home!

MitMoi said...

we could trade family visits if you want ... I'll let you go hang with my mom ... I'm sure you'd charm her.