This past weekend, I spent a long weekend in Florida with my oldest step-sister and my two oldest nieces and oldest nephew –S, C and L ages 17, 14 and 13. I’ve written of them many times, and their influence in my life is unmistakable. Their very presence made our (very newly-formed, blended) family go in a direction that produced instant cohesion. We avoided much of the yours, mine conflicts because almost immediately after my mother and step-father’s union, my step-sister gave birth to S. I had only been an 8th grade graduate a few days when she arrived. S was, simply, ours. We could all love her mutually. She belonged to none of us, she belonged to all of us.
Our (for me, this side of my) family life and dynamic is not an easy one. It is fraught with tension, hints of mental illness, and a tendency for the melodramatic. In the middle of the storm there always, always has been S, C and L. They’ve grown up to be such wonderful kids and easy teenagers that I’m constantly amazed when these tall, hilarious, creative, talented kids still tries to crawl into my lap. They slip their hands into mine to hold. They lay in bed with me and ask for backs to be scratched. This weekend I got a glimpse of the still-difficult live they lead, largely at the hands of my step-sister. I could elaborate further, but I would likely end several hours and tears later. There’s no use.
After a particularly tough few hours, I watched them play in the ocean while I sat on my towel with the Beatles cranked up in my headphones and trying to slow my beating heart. They laughed and played like the toddlers I once knew. I watched them and hoped with every fiber of my being that they break this cycle. That they will be the ones to break this vicious endless cycle of finger-pointing and blame and too much yelling – not for us, not for our family, but for themselves.
I want these things as I watch them teeter on the end of adolescence and I watch and I cry and clutch my fists to keep my dreams for them inside. Let it be.
Last night, I ended what was a small flicker of a relationship. I actually cooked for this one – I really did try. I told people about him. I slept with him. I tried. But it still didn’t work. I don’t know, honestly, what to do anymore. I am very pessimistic that anything will be happening for me in this game of love.
I know, I know – it’s easy to wave me off with a “Ah, well you’re just 31! You’ve plenty of time!” The reality is—no, I really don’t. I don't have all that many years to find, nurture and grow a relationship, have babies, etc, before that window of time will end. I can do math. I doubt my chances of meeting The One are going to grow ever larger as I age, become set in my ways and continue to set myself up for a life alone. Do I like it? No. But it is what it is. I feel like I need to let go of this future life I’m envisioning for myself and just let it go.
Let it be.
Let it be, so that I can eliminate expectation and come to terms that maybe I’m a kick-ass aunt because they are the only children I’m going to have in my life. Maybe I have such a large and meshed-together and extended family unit(s) because they are the only family I am going to have. I just don't know. But I know I can't stop listening to this song.
“Holding out for some perfect reason/
Staring at the skyline with expectation.
Never finding what I believe in/
I’ll wait if I have to…
But feels like my hope’s slipping away
While I’m waiting here
Feels like I go from green to grey
As I lose another year.”