I don’t have a lot of family. Technically, that’s not really correct. My dad’s family is huge, my mom’s too. But I look at family a little differently, and as such, have kinda pieced together my own, picking and choosing those people I feel close to.
Families are weird, and everyone has their own idiosyncratic oddities clamoring about in the proverbial closet. My dad’s family is a typical uppercrust Southern family-large, close knit, old school, and very strongly opinionated. When my parents divorced, I was 6 or 7, and suddenly we became “the black sheep” of the family. You just didn’t get divorced, that wasn’t done-it was shameful. Couple that with the fact that we had moved out of state, and away from “the fold”, and also that I was adopted, and they had never really accepted me as one of their own, and all of a sudden I was a pariah. While I was able to see my relatives occasionally growing up, mostly on holidays, I never really got to know them or grow close to them-I always felt on the outside of this large circle of family. They made me very aware from their actions and closed conversations that I was not a part of “them.” Now, as an adult, I have no desire to form bonds with these people who are little more than strangers; what feelings I have for them are very neutral, and are akin to those of an unbiased observer.
My mom’s side of the family is where the crazy lives. Since her death, I have cut off all contact with those relatives. Previous to her death, my contact with them was very limited as Mom didn’t really want anything to do with them either. There were those, however, who imposed their presence upon us time and again, usually with their hands extended, and because my mom was pretty much the nicest, sweetest lady in the world, she often found herself being used by relatives who really didn’t care one way or the other. *sigh* It’s hard to be cut off from a select few because of a bunch of bad apples, so to be speak. I miss my cousins.
I have mentioned I am adopted. This is not a big secret, but it’s not something I usually share with people. I’m not embarrassed; it’s just not something that comes up usually in conversation. I have known since as long as I could remember, and it’s never been a big deal to me. For better, and more often than not for worse, I consider my adopted parents as “my parents.” I’ve never really had much of an interest in my bio parents.
However, a couple years ago, Craig and I started talking about maybe finding out what we could about my adoption; any family health history would be very helpful, and I became curious, too, about any bio siblings I might have, having spent all of my life as an only child. We wrote to NYS Health Department, sending the various forms & whatnot, not really expecting much, but still looking forward to something.
After several months, I received a small packet of non-identifying info, containing descriptions of my bio parents, ages, religious prefs, that sort of thing. You really don’t get much beyond that unless they have signed a consent as well. What I found out was a little disturbing. I was concieved in the summer of ’69, that I already knew just by doing the math. My mother was 12 at the time, my father 26. *blink* I can’t even begin to imagine the circumstances surrounding that, and I almost wish I didn’t know that little bit that was released to me. Geez. Suffice it to say, it took me a little while to digest this information. We’ve decided that we will no longer be pursuing this.
Prior to this, I’d wonder every time my birthday rolled around, if my bio mom was out there somewhere wondering about me and where I was, as obviously the date would mean something to her as well. Now, I just wonder if my birthday is a cruel reminder of some horrible circumstance.
Strange how life works, huh?