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. 


  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.

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

  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.

  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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