Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas stuff, part 2

I started writing this as a comment to the last post, in response to other comments (and if anyone knows if it is possible to set my comment section to allow for replies to a particular comment, please let me know!), but it started getting longer and longer.  I realized I was having some new thoughts, sparked by the commentors (thank you!) and I might as well just write it as a new post...

First of all, I did make an edit to the last post to make clear that my relationship with my sister's three daughters is very personal and almost like having 3 more kids myself.  I love those girls with all my heart (they are 16, 11, and 7).  I likewise adore my brother's kids and talk to them every chance I get (we just had a lovely day over Thanksgiving weekend) but I leave those visits with no sense of who they are at all.  I ask them lots of questions, about school and their lives and their friends, etc., but find that every decision or opinion is screened by their mother - often right while I'm talking to them.  And it is hard to say that because in most ways I really like my sister in law and would gladly socialize with her anytime...

I also think this feeling hits a nerve for me because that is how I felt when I finally left home - like I had no sense at all of who I was and my only thoughts and opinions were those of my father (mostly), which I had been taught to parrot.  Mark is right about squeezing people into oddly-shaped packages...eventually you have to find your own ever-changing shape and doing so can be really hard and painful.  I would not wish that on anyone, much less my nieces and nephews. 

4 comments:

  1. This leaped out at me: "You have to find your own ever-changing shape," and I love the inclusion of "ever-changing." When you were under his protective umbrella, your "only thoughts and opinions were those of [your] father," and nothing can change that fact. Now your own formed personality sees life through different eyes, and it reflects someone who extricated herself from that "oddly-shaped package" and presented her adult self to the world, with no apologies.

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  2. You've hit the nail on the head, Mark. And no apologies!

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  3. Hooray for finding our own shapes. For the senior yearbook when I was high school we had to list our goals in life and one of the things I wrote (along with "write the Great American Novel" and "be a burden on society") was "to never stop growing and changing." It was a little pretentious for a seventeen-year-old I guess, but at 43, it seems truer than ever.

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  4. MM, interesting that all I would have said in high school was that I wanted to be married and have children...from my advanced perspective (46), that seems so naive and narrow. I only figured out the "to never stop growing and changing part" some years later, but better late than never.

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