Often times at the dinner table We would gather and eat. It would consist of jokes being made at my expense, put downs, some form of mockery, or ranking on me. I was harshly told to sit up straight by “him” and my elbows stabbed from time to time with a fork…also by “him”. My mother at some point or another would also join in the snickering and it was an isolating feeling to be at the table. It was me, my two older step-brothers (at the time) and my younger half brother,,”him”,and my mother. I didnt belong. I was deemed somehow the outcast, or unwanted one. Most often times, I wasnt hungry. I hated eating meat as a child…it served no purpose for me.
Most times I ate my dinner slowly letting my imagination whisk me away to far off places from my “imaginary” adoptive family! ( If only it were true) I more often times then not, would be the only one left eating at the table, while everyone else was gone. I was forced to eat my dinner, and couldnt leave my seat until it was finished. Sundays consisted of the same ol’ same ol’ spaghetti dinner. “He” liked it. My mother wasnt a very good cook. On occasion, pizza was a treat but it had sausage and pepperoni on it. I never ate it. Was always the same…..”he” got to choose. I would try to stick up for myself, to no prevail. It most always definitely end up in me loosing, and in tears running to my room…to throw myself on my bed, sobbing like a baby, or writing poems in my journal. I had been to others houses. Their families seemed like “normal” people. Though early on I had discovered that EVERY family had it’s own issues…none were perfect.
As a mother now, and young grandmother, I have realized that those screwed up rules and dinner time chaos didnt and wouldnt have to become part of my family dinner traditions. Over the years I struggled to make sense of it all and form my own family dinner meetings. Tried to bestow some “normalcy” to our home. Never bringing up the way things were when I was young. I wanted so desperately to have that overall sense of glowing pride that my family was perfect and would gather happily at the table without disagreements and ridiculous arguments!! That was out of the question, and soon I realized it was all but a hopeless dream.
You see, i have come to understand that even though my childhood was horrible, and I carried with me those same fears and terrors. I had the tools I needed to make the changes in my own life and families life. Though not perfect, it wouldnt matter. We still had each other and though our times at the table were at some point stressful and silent…we stilled shared in open love, and honesty. There were no harsh feelings or mockery…no put downs or sense of ganging up on someone. I strive for holidays for it to be picture perfect…wanting to explore this new found sense of playing house and wanting to provide this “Brady Bunch” gathering for them. I call it “Family Tradition”. There is no harm in wanting things to go well…and for EVERYONE to get along. A day with out stress, or drama. Just a family gathering where everyone loved to love…and be loved.
Bottom line is: It is what it is! I cant push my beliefs on others. I can however, make sure that I lead by example, in the hopes that one day…all my four children and all my grandchildren see that I have struggled to provide them all with a sense of UNITY and FAMILY. No matter your past, and your family (although at times its to bad we cant choose who they are) your past doesnt define who you are and can be. You CAN change your past. You DONT have to become like your parents and/or family. You CAN start your own Traditions. The days of thinking that you are going to be like your parents are GONE!!!! The days of breaking the chain has come….let go of those times where you feel like your living in the past and start thinking of fresh new, exciting ways to create your own ideas and make them a reality!!!
RENOVATE YOUR MIND SPACE!!!!