We are an us, like it or not.

May 09, 2012



I grew up in a family of five, the oldest sibling of a sister and brother. Outside of our family of five, there were plenty of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, second cousins, the like. We relished in family get-togethers, Christmases around piles of presents, and sleepovers with the cousins. But, aside from the good times, we also experienced loss, heartbreak, drama, abuse and neglect at the hands of those outside of us. Our unit, our five, was stronger.

Growing up, my mom always told us that we were her priority. The five people living in her house are the ones that her focus was on first. We were responsible for us. What was best for our family is what we did. What happened to their family was not going to infiltrate into our house. What decisions they made would not affect the decisions we made. While some viewed this as selfish, it was selfless on her part to protect us and show us who mattered most.

Not only did this turn us into extremely independent people, but it made our family honest with one another. Our home was a safe place for getting mad, sad, upset, or frustrated. Nothing we did or said within the four walls of our home would affect the loyalty we had to one another. We were an us, like it or not.

At the age of almost twenty-seven, I find myself treating my family of two the very same way. Merging families has thrown us into unexpected family situations. As a couple, we are expected to have a voice and be a part of everyone else's messiness. But we won't. We can choose not to.

Our responsibility is to one another. Chris to me, and me to Chris. No member of our families will be allowed to negatively influence or affect the decisions we make as a unit, together, for our future. 

Starting off on this path will surely pave the way for solid decision-making and protected hearts. While family is to be loved, we have to put the ones we are committed to first. The neglect, hypocrisy and meddling from others should not be our burden to bear.

And thanks to what I learned from my own mother, I - rather, we - choose not to bear it.




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11 comments:

  1. Yes! And isn't it a strange transition to grow up with the family who you are loyal to and learn to protect to no end...but then to have that shift as you step outside of it and start your own? So glad we were led by such great examples!

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  2. I like the concept of what you wrote here. I just had twins and my son was only a year when I was pregnant. He and I are closer than white on rice and although he was too young to "get" what was happening, I wanted him to understand that mommy wasn't replacing him and that we all belong to each other and we just had new people to love and to love us back. I got the opportunity to spend more time at home with this pregnancy than I did with him but it really was for the best. We are all enjoying each other and getting on great together and he is very loving and protective of his sisters. Kids and family is just the best ain't it?

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    1. Congrats on the twins! I know your son will feel so loved by both you and his new sisters.

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  3. Your upbringing with your cousins sounds so similar to mine. And I have to be honest, your core family's solidarity and unity made me jealous. My family unit was shattered when I was 11 - I don't know that kind of fierce loyalty, that sense of safe harbor. But I am so happy for you and your siblings you had that, and love that you are able to recreate and carry that on to your family now.

    Stopped by from Mama Kat's, and glad that I did.

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    1. As long as you can create it for yourself and your family, then that is the most you can do. Give them what you didn't have and it will be the greatest gift.

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  4. Good post. It's hard to maintain neutrality with extended family when they want your opinion and your emotional involvment. More power too ya! But, I agree. My 3 boys and hubs come first. If they will not be affected negatively....then you've got my full attention and support!

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    1. Definitely hard! I have to put US first or else it all falls apart.

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  5. I so agree. I was raised in a family similar to yours and am doing the same with my own family. My mother always put our own interests above the rest of our extended-family and I do the same for my own two and my husband. Great post!

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  6. "If the roots are strong, the branches will flourish." That quote was a mantra for me. And I hope it becomes one for you and Chris. If you two remain strong, your children (to be) will flourish...and feel loved and safe. No matter what other drama is going on in the other parts of the family tree.

    I love you.

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  7. I like the idea that what other people choose for their families is not your concern. I think that is a great lesson. We can love people (family or not) that our outside of our hoe and choose a different model for their lives, we can love them but not agree or abide by the same practices. That is a very good lesson for us all.

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