We are Family
Maybe it's because Christmas is not long gone, or maybe it's because of my own situation, but I have become acutely aware of families. I have many friends with all sorts of differing relationships with their family, and I think just about every issue under the sun. Some people seem to be so entwined within their family that a sense of suffocation is felt. Others feel the harshness of distance, either physically or emotionally. And no matter your age, these issues are always present in some form or another.
On reflection, it makes me think that my family and any issues we may have are quite, well, garden variety. Maybe I'm lucky, as I seem to get along with all my family. We don't live in each other's pockets, but I know that if I needed them, they'd be there in a heartbeat for me. I have space to grow and be myself, and any difference I exhibit is accepted, as well...difference. I am the youngest of three children, and am the only girl. Yes - the baby and a girl - a dangerous combination. There are some years between my brothers and I, as our Mum was widowed after emigrating to Australia and having my two brothers. She then re-married and had me. And although my brothers have their Dad's surname, I've never felt like a 'half' sister. The glorious thing about coming along last, is that when I arrived, it's just how things are. We're one family with different names.
I think we all had some difficult years growing up, namely because Dad was a grumpy bugger at the best of times. However, now that he is elderly and in ill-health, those angst-ridden years don't carry the weight they once did. Sure, issues are still there, and his impact on our behaviour and development is still present to this day. But right now, I am seeing him differently. Not knowing how long he will be with us, is enabling me to put aside those childhood and teenage hurts, and be in the moment with him. Rather than focussed on years gone by.
In dealing with all the fall out I am currently still wading through, I know that if I needed my brother's help, they would be there. If I asked Craig (my eldest brother) to come along when I meet up with my Ex (so he can't threaten or abuse me, at least without a witness), I'm sure he would. And Dale, my other brother, rang me the other day to give me some advice and the name and number of a lawyer. He doesn't think I should put myself in the firing line any more, and that whatever it costs to get this sorted, is worth the money so that I stop getting hurt and can move forward faster with my life.
I am fortunate in that I love my brothers, and am lucky enough to respect them as people, and father's in their own right. They have great wives and fabulous kids. And although we don't often catch up (partially through distance and because of everyone's busy lives) I know, to borrow a phrase, they have my back. I have posted this photo of Dale and I. To me it sums up our relationship, and it always makes me smile. Whether either of us realise it, he has always looked out for me. When I had my first minor car bingle, he was the one who took me outside to look at the car, assess the damage and take control. And again the other day, he rings trying to help and to make sure that I am not getting too damaged. And I thank him for this.