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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I do too have a family!

I just took a quick peek at my Facebook wall and found that a woman had posted in a childless support forum about her struggle with infertility. It was very sad to see another person struggling with the loss of her dream to be a parent. But something she said really resonated with me and I felt it was something worth addressing here.  She said that all of her friends and families had "actual families." That took me aback. Don't get me wrong, I understand her meaning and, true, we do not have the children we so desperately desire, but that doesn't mean that we don't have a family! Honestly, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way.  Of course I don't want to hurt her feelings, but what gives anyone the right to say what constitutes a family?! My husband and I are NO LESS a family than the Duggar family, with their 19 children! (I won't even go THERE!) Granted, we are a smaller family... a family of two! But my darling, loving, wonderful husband IS my family! Do I wish that our family include a few more members... certainly! But that doesn't undo what we are and what we have. Additionally, we have neices, nephews, cousins, step-children, aunts, uncles, siblings, parents....what are they if not our ACTUAL familiy? I'm not saying that any of mine are perfect, but they are my family! Not to mention my fur kids... I dont' care what anyone says... they are as much a part of my family as any two legged member! I DO TOO have a family! And my childlessness does not negate that!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Who do YOU see?

Mali wrote a great post about taking a good look in the mirror, and who it is we see.  We often listen to the propaganda of the media, the judgements of society and the lies we tell ourselves.  Her post reminded me of my own blog and my assertion that being childless does not make me less of a person. Yet society does seem to have an expectation that I actually am less.  After all, the media bombards us with images of the perfect little family: mom, dad, baby (or 2, but not more than 3!), dog, SUV. Those of us who don't seem to fit into that little mold are sometimes left wondering where we fit in, because there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of space made or thought for those of us who, whether due to circumstance or choice, don't fall into the "perfect little family" category.

Sometimes we are passively excluded, in the sense that we are not even considered. At others, we are an anonamility - according to urbandictionary.com, an anonymous anomality, a non-person that does not correspond with an expected image.  At still other times we are persona non grata, Latin, literally meaning "an unwelcome person."

It is so unfortunate that so many people lack the ability to look beyond what we wear and what we have and what we do, to see who we actually ARE, or to make the effort to be compassionate or to empathize at all with others; to see what we do have to offer rather than what we can't produce (or in some cases choose not to).  It is something that I made a conscious decision to work on in myself a very long time ago. Sadly, that decision was born out of a desire not to be like a woman who was (and is) incapable of even considering possibilities that don't exist in her mind. Even more sadly, that woman is my mother. She means well, but cannot see beyond her own assumptions and expectations. I made a decision long ago never to be that way; rather I decided to try very hard to be unconditionally loving and accepting of people, to try not to be judgemental, and to try to find the good in people even if it meant looking very hard! I told myself that I would be the kind of mother that I always wanted and needed (and sometimes still do!), but didn't have.  I would be different. 

I still try, though not as a mom, since I didn't have that opportunity, but with people in general. And some days I have to try very hard, because some people do not make it easy to love them. If only more people were capable of looking into the mirror and seeing beyond their own grimmacing faces, perhaps all our lives would be a little different. But I can't do a thing about everyone else, I can just continue to try... even if it's not in the way I always thought I would.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sometimes it's hard to watch

So many times, we are faced with people who have been blessed with children and wonder "why them and not me." Some of those people, clueless as to the blessing that has been bestowed upon them, take their children for granted, depend on them to be the grown-ups, while still being the parent's playmate, and use them as pawns to get what they want.  I know just such a person... the very same person who said I couldn't care for their children because I didn't know how, since I had never been a mother. And yet, this person lives off of the children's SS benefits from their deceased parent, spends frivolously, is irresponsible, and plays on the emotions of their family to ensure that bills are paid... emotional embezzlement. This "parent" (and I use the term loosely!) uses others and threatens not allowing them to spend time with the children if things are not done according to the parent's desires. Sadly, the parent has the upper hand, for if the family were to dig in and demand that a job be obtained and some responsibility be taken, the children would be held "hostage," as it were, from their family and not allowed to visit. Unfortunately, there is not much to be done, since the children would be the ones who would ultimately suffer. Still, with hands tied, and eyes wide open, it's a very hard thing to watch.