I was in Norfolk at my mom’s the week before last because of a rare visit from my sister and her kids. Every time I have all these hopeful expectations that things will be different and we all will somehow really connect. It is usually a disappointment. Most everyone knows the strange, unconscious shift of falling back into one’s lifelong postion in the family. All those old, ingrained ways of relating, of postioning yourself, in your family just happen. Too many strong feelings about too many things keep you from breaking the cycle; still choosing your words carefully, choosing topics carefully. I have made some cracks in the foundation of those walls, but still find them strong and high. I often come away feeling like a stranger. We are not the same people we were twenty years ago yet we seem to continue to relate to other as if we are. No one seems to be very interested in really getting to know one another. We did have some fun, don’t get my confession wrong, but I realized for real this time that my family doesn’t know me very well and I don’t really know them well either. Nobody talks about their feelings, and desires and troubles….no relating on a deep level and certainly no one asks. On occasion over the years I have asked only to be quickly redirected.
As well, I come away broken hearted at my lack of ability to love people. If you can’t love the people in your own family you probaby can’t love anyone else since they usually are the most challenging. I have said it many times, family are the people you probably would not have anything to do with if they weren’t family. I find my desire for folks to behave in the manner I want and whether or not they do determines that love. It’s a real uncovering of how mature I really am and I am never as far a long as I thought or hoped. Admit it. We want people agree with us, approve of us, be into the same things we are….not make waves. This is the superficial, fleshly reality of relationships that do not move on and up, that do not blossom, and do not go down deep.
In the days following a trip like that I feel really disjointed, closed in some alternate reality and unable to get back to my life. I feel what seems like remorse. I think thats what it is. And I go through the motions of kicking myself and wishing I could start over and it was noon on wednesday october 5th when I pulled into the driveway of my mom’s house. I was nursing a subluxated rib (don’t ask) last week, staring at that blasted painting and feeling stuck in gear looking back at the the days in Norfolk. Couldn’t settle. The promise of the coming week is a relief.