I look through the screen door and call him, he comes running and jumps in my arms with licks and kisses. The other dogs come running as well and are jumping at my feet. I talk with my parents for a little bit with tales of our travels and they tell me about Pupperton’s fun, I put him in his travel crate and then we make our way home. When I get home, Sweet and I give him a bath then he is usually tired and passes out from all the playing he did.
Sweet and I were traveling on and off this last week and as stated above the same ritual went on with the addition of my daughter’s dog that is Oliver’s aunt, who stayed with us for several days in between trips. They played and slept and ate and it’s just a Pom festival! Until Middle Kid comes to get her then he is alone with us and again passes out from the fun.
So this last time when I picked him up and watched them play through the screen door. I made an offhanded comment to my mother saying that Oliver would be bored with us since he has been visiting a member of his family for the last two weeks and that he has a better relationship with his family than all of us! Mom and I laughed then Pupperton and I left. On my way home, I thought about what I had said and wondered if it were true. Mom didn’t deny it and my thoughts turned into memories of when I was little and how we used to go over to my aunts and uncles homes. Visiting and playing with cousins, spending weeks at a time in the summer, birthday parties, holidays, reunions, marriages and sadly funerals. Then it all ended. We grew up, grandparents passed, people moved, second generation began having children and families. Jobs, school, successes and tribulations got in the way.
Now all these years later, I have cousins that I don’t know. Some of them, I don’t even know their names and they aren’t sure who I am either. Which is sad because I am also trying to keep my own family together. It’s trying when this one is not speaking to that one, or someone said something that ticked another person off so much that a phone number is blocked from calling. Alliances are formed then diverted, Facebook messages are sent that says somebody defriended you or you have been blocked from requesting them again. I could go on but I think you get it.
Please don’t get me wrong, we all still get together for the occasional wedding, we email and text the ones we still have a relationship with and of course the facebook. But it’s not the same and I still have scars from the explosion that was my life and my children’s childhood. I still get hairs on the back of my neck when I hear my kids talk about that side and how they are a family. I want to shout out, so are we!!
I thought more about Oliver’s simple family when I nearly escaped the seduction that is my children’s fathers machine the other day. I call it the W machine and it used to be a part of me and my family so I can tell you from experience it will roll along grabbing, snatching and snarling at anyone that dares to get in the way of it’s definition of a superior and all knowing family leadership and yet the bite always comes with a smile.
I have been a part of this viciousness since I was sixteen and even after divorce and the remarriages, the machine continued to grow and the teeth got bigger and more righteous.
Weird that all that time I thought that I had to live through those daily assaults from him and the new Mrs. W. I actually thought that this was my life and I just had to be strong and deal with it, not that I was completely innocent in the opinion war. HA! Though me thinks great fodder for a yummy protaganist!
Not until I met this woman that had been leading a group I participated in, did I realize that I didn’t have to be. We had started on a discussion of relationships, emotions and the social unit. I brought up some stories of my life intending to help the person that started the discussion. Then Whammo!
The instructor looked at me and plainly said, “You are in charge of your own emotions, no one can tell you how you should react to something nor judge you on it.” I stopped cold. Whaaaa? How come no one told me that before?
She went on to say, “If I jumped on this desk and screamed, shouted and pointed to a mouse in the corner. Would you yell at me to calm down and not act that way about seeing the mouse? Or have your own emotion about the mouse?”
Of course I told her that I would probably jump up on the table also and yell louder than her while instructing the remaining souls on how to catch the mouse. After I left the class, it resonated so loudly with me that I told Sweet about it and many others since. I am allowed my own emotions! I have been freed!! I will no longer have my actions defined by others and am free of the W machine. As I was dancing with my scarf (saw it in a movie and thought is was time to use it) swirling in the kitchen and enjoying the release, Sweet asked in his infinite innocent way. “Why would you think you had to answer to anyone? Blah… (dancing stops and eyes look to the side)
I tell you all this because I learned a few things about this thing called family with my new epiphany. It doesn’t matter who is talking to who, who is right or wrong, who did all the work, who didn’t. Opinions and gossip no longer rule the day. In the simplest terms I note, a bloodline makes no difference, a family is the people closest to you to whom you care, hope and pray for, laugh and cry with, fight and love for no matter what. It’s all about who is running around the backyard with you panting, barking, biting and who’s arms you can jump into with licks and kisses!