Monday, July 29, 2013

Reconnecting With My Past- Family

I have a big family.
To put it more specifically I have a BIG disconnected and dysfunctional family.

My family lives all around the United States which doesn't enable me to give Leilani the family she wants. Couple that with my abrupt departure from Florida to New York City, years of less than great relationships, and my ability to completely disconnect from people and not feel sad or bad for doing so; the result is me not actively connecting or not wanting to connect with some people in my family.

To completely sum up YEARS of mess, I haven't spoken to:
  • my grandmother and grandfather
  • my mother, her husband, and his family
  • most of Leilani's father's family
  • and just about anyone that is family in Florida
for a little over 3 years, which means Leilani hasn't either.

Some of these people wronged Leilani and myself HORRIBLY (some were just left 'behind' when we moved) so I never wanted to speak to them again. I was completely okay with that decision, I was comfortable with my decision, I didn't ever think I would change my decision...but I have.

Leilani had been asking about my mother for sometime.
I would answer her questions as best as I could or brush them off when I didn't feel like answering them at that moment. Those two options worked but then her questions came more frequently and my half answers were no longer doing the trick.

At about the same time my step mother abruptly lost both her stepson and her brother to untimely deaths. While I was on the phone with her offering my condolences and listening to the hurt in her voice I felt my ice heart melt a bit.

I realized that although I dislike, distrust, or dis whatever else some of the people in my family... they're still my family and as an adult I control the type of relationships my small family will have with them. There is A LOT of love for Leilani and I within this large disconnected and dysfunctional family and it's my job as a parent and human to create a space where the love can be exchanged in a healthy way.

After more than 3 years Leilani re-met her grandmother, great-grandmother, and her grandma's husband.

As we laid in bed that night talking about our day Leilani hugged me and said "I'm so glad I was able to meet my great-grandma and grandma. Thank you mommy."

I'm working on being cautiously welcoming of this side of our family but in the meantime I am happy Leilani is happy with the process.