Meriam-Webster defines family as:
1 : a group of individuals living under one roof and under one head
2 : a group of persons who come from the same ancestor
3: the basic unit in society traditionally consisting of two parents rearing their children
And, Extended Family is defined as a family that includes parents and children and other relatives (as grandparents, aunts, or uncles) in the same household
Lately, I feel they have not only turned their cheek to me, but their backs. Why can I not simply turn around and walk away? Wipe my hands clean knowing that I did my best. Why do I still hold such importance on this family I was born into?
Perhaps, I need to look at that definition again. Meriam-Webster defines family as living under one roof. Even extended family.
Is it true? Do the dynamics of family change once a child reaches adulthood? When a man takes a wife and they have children of their own, do they no longer belong to the family from which they came? Do they now only belong to the family that they create? Do the roles of parent and child no longer exist when the child becomes a parent themselves?
Is this the reason why it is so easy for some of the family I was born into able to turn their backs to me?
My husband tells me that the day of our wedding, my father told him that I was all his to take care of. I never knew then the true meaning of his words. My father relinquished all of his responsibilities concerning me over to my husband. However, he is still there for me in any way.
Are you confused yet? Because I sure am.
I am left to believe even more so that MY family is now defined as my husband and our children.
So this is an apology.
To the family I was born into, I am sorry. You have turned your back to me and I must take a deep breath, stand straight and tall, and walk away. I have a wonderful and fabulous family that loves and supports me. I created my family with a man who loves me.
To my “extended family”, trust me, you do not know the whole story, so please, your advice is invalid and not required. Furthermore, quoting me a bible verse in which it states that our family has been divided … mother against daughter, you should let my mother know you told me that.
To my husband, I apologize. I had no idea the weight of the baggage I carried. I am honored to have started a family with you. And I would like to define family the way God intended it to be. Even after our children move out and create families of their own, our roles will change, but we will always remain their mother and father and the relationships will always be strong. No matter what their choices in life may be.
I will be 40 this year. It is time to leave the bags at the door and walk into this warm house and claim, with an open heart, what is mine. To fully and truly enjoy the life that I have worked so hard to build. To fully and truly show my appreciation to my husband and my children. This is my family now. I am no longer the child. I am the wife and the mother.
(c) Rachel Rennie 2015