Who are they? Where do they come from and why are they in our lives?
Sure, when we are young they are our safe haven, our confidants, our teachers and our punishers.
But when we get older, when we are alone and have to find our own families we have a tendency to fill our familial void with people who have similar personality traits or maybe just caricatures of our Aunts, Uncles, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother or cousins.
We seek out new father figures in friends, bosses or even mentors. The same is true for mother figures. We pick out those characteristics that have endeared themselves into our heart and mind and find a mate or a friend who can fill those missing pieces in our lives.
In a sense, we build our families from what we’ve learned and experienced in our youth. We also subtract those traits we don’t like. However; there are times when we are stunted in our judgement and we unconsciously fill the gaps with the same problematic issues that haunted us as children.
Yes, overcoming the bad is difficult and it seems to take a concerted effort to cut the scars of our lives open, figure out what caused them and then seek out a person who seems to not be as damaged as you are or the people of your past. It seems to be part of growth into maturity.
There are those in the world who are unable to do this. People who can’t overcome their past and fall into the cycle of pain. Both giving and receiving.
To me, family isn’t supposed to be about pain. Yes, there is pain as is the nature of life. But as I get older and the visages of my youth fall into the vaporous past, I find that the old pains that filled my heart and mind as a young adult and all the angst, anger and disillusionment those moments made me feel desolate and my life barren just fall to the wayside of my life.
Yes, good memories seem to flood my mind of times spent with all members of my blood. Even when my blood family and I get together and throw our laundry of youth onto the table, we seem to laugh at the bad and get misty eyed at our good.
We become nostalgic and sometimes… maudlin.
When the conversation comes around to our current work, our state of our own created family, the stories inevitably get compared to our own adventures and misadventures of youth. A strange and interesting dichotomy is created so that we all can feel a part of the stories we’ve missed out on.
Then we share our wishes, dreams, hopes and fears. All of which amaze me in the degrees of change from what I remember from so many years ago.
I’m not immune to these changes. Like everyone else as time passes, my psyche changes to my current age as do my dreams, hopes and fears.
When, as adults, our mates become the collective creation of all of our lives. We depend on them. We tell them everything. We trust them and pour into them everything we’ve been through. They essentially become the only family we ever really and truly needed.
Sure, we have kids, but they move forward with their lives and attempt to create their own family. I hope that my own child will create a family that is better than I helped create for her. I dream of having a house full of grandkids who talk incessantly about things I’ve no clue about. Television shows, internet sites, technology and advances in science and humanity that have passed like so much laughter and tears from a life well lived.
In the end I guess what I’m trying to say is “We have within us the power to create our own families in our own best image and to pass on to the future a better life for all.”
Have a great week.