Saturday, 20 June 2015
Links With No Names
Well isn't life funny?! Just when I thought I had things pretty sorted out everything changed. Yesterday.
Nothing is the same anymore. Not even remotely the same.
Like... what did I used to think about before yesterday?
I thought I knew how this would feel. I thought I could imagine. But, as it turns out, I was wrong.
I had no idea.
My granddaughter came into the world. My granddaughter. Granddaughter.
Who would know that 3.7 kilograms could make such a difference? How on earth did we live without her?
Don't get me wrong. I knew I would love my grandchild. I have three children I love with all my heart. Three children who still make my heart skip a beat when I see them.
But my heart suddenly got bigger yesterday. It actually got bigger. And fuller. I can feel it.
And that is what is amazing about life. And impossible to actually explain. Our emotions. And they are all tied up with the people in our lives. And the good and bad experiences we have with those people in our lives. Our family and our friends. Sometimes these relationships last a life time and sometimes they don't.
I don't have a relationship with my family of origin. But my husband and I created our own family and, through him, our extended family of sisters, brother in law, nieces, nephew and great nieces and great nephew. My husband became the source of my family. He gave me that gift. And I found my own 'sisters'. And then my son found his beautiful soul mate. So our family grew. Then we became related to her family. And what a blessing they are. But now that we share a grandchild (and all the siblings share a niece) we are really, really related. Like forever. So whether we are in laws, second cousins, related by marriage, we are really, really family. This precious little girl is now that link. She is the link that joins all our other links to become the chain that we call 'our family'. And some of the relationships don't even have names. There is no name for the relationship I share with my daughter in law's mother. So, if we ever needed proof, this goes to show that naming a relationship does not increase it's value. Our 'nameless' relationship is one I treasure. And what about my husband's brother in laws' family? No names. And what about my daughter in law's mothers' husband and his family? No names but you get my drift. But what about my girlfriends? They are more than girlfriends so I think of them as the 'sisters' that I chose for myself. They are my family. Everyone likes to think that they have some of their 'own' family. And they are mine.
When my son married his wife there was a pew in the church that was empty. It was labelled 'family' so no one else sat in it. And it made me realise that that was where my family of origin would have sat. And it made me sad. Even though it was my choice it still made me sad. Sad that I had to make that choice. Sad that I had to learn that that was the best thing for me. Sad that I hadn't been worth protecting. Sad that I hadn't been worth fighting for. Aren't all children worth protecting? Aren't they all worth fighting for? So what was wrong with me? And because I was only a child there is a part of me that will always believe that there is something wrong with me. Because that's what child abuse does. And that's what makes it insidious.
But this means that I have a special value for all the links, named and nameless, friends and family, in my life. They are there by their choice and mine.
And I know that we would all say that, of course, our family and friends are the most important thing in our lives. Careers, holidays, real estate, cars, dollars don't come anywhere near it.
But it is when something as miraculous as a new life enters your world that you are really confronted with your beliefs. And your blessings. And the importance of being well and healthy in order to appreciate what your 'links' bring to your life. My granddaughter has created a whole set of new links in my life. Links with no names. But links nevertheless. Because all her links, her other grandparents, her great grandparents, her aunts, uncles, cousins, her great aunts and great uncles and all the ones without names, they all become my links.
Because she is my granddaughter. My granddaughter. Granddaughter.
So every so often try counting your links. Actually counting them.
They are everything, everything that matters.