Birthday month: Caity will be 26. Then two weeks later Joe will be 30. Four days later Isaac turns 35 . Four days after that Chris turns 35.
The “birth order” is completely non traditional in our family. Isaac was an only child for five years. Then, after a process that would cut the birthrate by 80% if it were required of birthparents and twice as long as pregnancy, 5 year old Chris was placed with us. Four years after that Caity was born, and one year later 5 year old Joe was placed with us.
I was 28 when Isaac was born. Math is easy from there. Chris came along when I was 33. Caity at 37, thus earning me the categorization of ‘advanced multipara’. And, 38 when Joe was placed. My kids are now the ages I remember being when I was parenting them.
Children have been my life since I was a tweener; 11 to be exact. That’s when I started daytime babysitting. And the best four years of my life was when I was home full time with all four of them.
This set of words didn’t come into existence until, thinking I was being terribly clever, I wrote my whole article on my Notes app and when I pressed until select/select all ...poof! Gone. It was a complicated column and reconstructing it is going to take some time, but it made me think of the kids.
Let me explain. This column is for those if you who don’t have perfect families. The non-Pieces of Eight families. Those of you who have been hit with a hard dose of real life.
You can do everything right in life and end up with circumstances that look like you sucked at everything.
Other people’s stuff, excellent and/or depraved is going to effect your life.
My life was greatly effected by the choices of my maternal grandparents, my former in laws, my adopted kids’ birthparents, my son’s in laws, and I wasn’t even in the picture when their behaviour was forming influence.
I’m musing about such because three times in the last two weeks I’ve had conversations with people who had held bitterness and grudges about something they thought I’d said and done. Factually it was easy to prove to them, I’d never done such a thing.
In screensaver moments of my brain and focus, those conversations have come back to me. Twenty years is a long time to be upset about something that never happened.
So I want to say this for those of you who are embarrassed or hiding the fact your family is not perfect.
I will only be celebrating Caity’s birthday with her. The other three really don’t want anything to do with me. I was a great Mom, a terrific wife and an honest and moral person. But sometimes ya just get caught in other people’s stuff.
The important thing is to keep your perspective, a loving warm heart and an eye on the future.
After fifty years of caring for families, from the first one who suffered the death of a child and couldn’t bear the grief of being around those children who were left, that I cared for as a teenager, to the five actually, really perfect families I know now who all have obstacles in their history they have overcome, families are complicated arrangements.
Just make love the strongest part of your existence and something good will come of some part of it. And don’t waste your time being angry and bitter. What you’re fuming about might not have actually happened.
And only my kids will get this. No matter what, I’m hanging on to the tiger suit because you never know what good things lie in the future. There may be a grandchild that wears it!
Be honest, be loving and other people’s stuff will be neutralized. No worries. Remember, in the Greek, perfect actually means complete. You can always pick up where you left off.