“Family is used many different ways. It can mean “household,” or the people you live with, or it can refer to a partner and the children you are raising together. Your family can include people you’ve never met, like distant cousins, if you’re using it to talk about the wider group of all of your relatives. There’s also the scientific term family, which is a term that ranks the way different organisms are related to each other.” Vocabulary.com
Blended, adopted, foster cared, group home, single parent, all blood, broken, divorced: there is no such thing as a perfect family. Some families work together and there are those who live in the same house, but are completely alone. Growing up as an only child, things were simple. I enjoyed my own space, had a room of my own and had all of my parent’s attention. Having so much closeness as a family, we were at that point inseparable. I had no one to fight over toys or parental confusion of who did it, just me and my parent’s content with what we had. What could possibly be better than that? Life was great!
One Tuesday afternoon my parents sat me down and asked if I wanted to become an older brother. I thought it to be a good idea at the time even though I had no recollection of what being a big brother meant. Thinking that it would be pretty cool for me to be a big brother to whatever sibling came my way, I would love them regardless. Shortly after our conversation, my mother revealed to me that I had a sister on the way. This had been a miracle for my parents at that time because they have been trying for a child for so long. This time around, my parents did not want my new sister to grow up like myself without siblings. Therefore with options presented “To foster care we go!” I was around 11 years old watching as my parents went through foster kid after the other. I liked a few and some I couldn’t wait for them to go back. I remember my parents received a baby who would never stop crying! I would just walk past it and here comes the waterworks. Needless to say that this experience was not looking as good for me as a big brother. I loved my little sister, but not so much the daycare classroom of children who came through the household at the time. I felt disconnected. Trapped, like the “The Old Lady in the Shoe.”
Then one day the fantastic four came through. My parents fell in love with these four kids and it was a plus that they were all close to my sister’s age. After a period of time, my parents adopted ALL four of them! Now I spoke up and told my mother “I agreed to be a big brother, but not to be a part of the Magic School Bus!” She laughed and told me “I promise to not treat them more than I love you. I’ve always wanted a big family.”
Well that promise got pushed to the back burner and became non-existent. With time, favoritism and attention divided, I began to resent these kids who have now ruined my lifestyle and fellowship with my parents. The worst thoughts began to constantly fly around my head: I had it good when nobody had MY spot. I was hear first! Why do I have to share MY space? Why do THEY get to eat dinner before ME? How come MY own parents didn’t do with ME things they did with THEM? What’s so special about THEM? I also remember a time while finishing a project in at home, not one of my parents looked it over before I went to school. Only wanting reassurance that I was OK to go, but instead neglect followed me to the classroom. I began to feel rejected, alone and just plain set apart from the family. I started to think that life wasn’t so great anymore.
Over some years, in order for us as a family to sit at the table together for dinner, was reserved for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Dinner was just another meal we would do on different schedules. Granted that things were not all bad, all of the time, but sometimes you’re when your hurt in one area, you begin not to trust what will happen next. Family time turned into us all watching movies that quickly switched into movies watching us. Some of us were half engaged into what was showing, some talked through the movie and some bodies were physically there, but mind in a different world. Communication for me became a far cry and a family divided was formed. We went to church together, dressed up for events and even looked good for the Facebook pictures, but secretly and internally broken.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18, 19
Now is that a great basis for a riveting story or what? I left the house at 19, went off to do my own thing. Forgetting about my family, to find home in other people. I spent many seasons reaching out for acceptance by those I thought to be important because I refused to go the direction my parents wanted. Resenting my upbringing, lying about my past to mask to the hurt I endured with the battle in my mind. On the verge of becoming a schizophrenic physio path, not giving a care in the world. You maybe can relate and want to blame the past for your current behavior. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought, to think that I was the only one with family problems. Maybe you and I are not so different in living through circumstances. Guess what… your still here, and so am I. This means we both have a purpose to be fulfilled!
Now the question is…. What are you going to do with the information you have and how are you going to reach others with your story? So your family didn’t accept you because you were an “out of the box” thinker… So what! Your family divided their attention and you were cut out of the center… Get over it! This is the point in your life when what has happened in the past is spilled milk not worth another tear drop. It’s time you face your obstacle! It’s time to grab the rag of forgiveness and begin to wipe up the hurt, pain, toil and battle in your mind. Wipe that floor good and clean because the thing about spilled milk, when left to sit, leaves residue, mold and a mess for the next person to clean after you. If they decide not to clean up the milk and ignore it, more people will come through and will have to deal with the stench in the room. In a lot of cases, people will ignore it until the smell becomes their new normal. Those people in the room, could very well be the members in your family. Now it will have to take someone from the outside to come in for the smell to be brought up, in order to address the issue. Due to neglect, this is the only time when the dried up milk is found, and now takes more man power to clean it up. This also requires a rag of forgiveness from all parties involved. Forgiveness is a team sport and requires participation. Now is the time to get together, have a family dinner, game night, meeting, and prayer. Movie nights are good as well, but if that’s all you do, then there are more options than trying to figure out who killed who in the house of clue, just to find out that the “Who” was you.
After realizing that my parents did the best they could with what they had, I have learned that they are human and make mistakes just like I do. I should have not held such a mantle of perfection over their heads all this time. Over the years through personal time with God, forgiveness, mercy, reassurance and acceptance came from the only person who can give it.
- Do you still blame your parents for your current behavior?
- What milk do you need to grab a rag for?
Selah: “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:22-26