I am my own ‘Box’ in our Family Tree

Growing up we were given the lecture time and again; “You are all you have…”  This was what we would hear from our

mother when we kids would really get into it.  Coming from a home of two parents, or maybe you didn’t and your parents were divorced; they were both alive.  Point being, and I’m really hoping the worst thing you ever had to worry about was the type of cookie to leave out for Santa, or the candles to place in your Menorah; but  you can’t possibly know horror we felt because you’ve not yet had the exposure of the worst feeling a child can face, that being the death of  one or both of  your parents.

For the four of us, we knew at a very early age that the death of our remaining parent (our mother) wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.  While most children might scream in temper tantrums hating their parents over whatever it was that they weren’t allowed that day claiming “I hate you!  I wish you were dead!”  For us, we dared never to wish such things for we knew the realities of life and death.  Only we didn’t know if that death was going to be tomorrow, or in another fifty or sixty years.  When you lose a parent, that IS your reality, your question, your nightmares are often “what happens if?”  Or, as in our case; “What will happen to us/to me if/when mother dies?”

That was our reality; as sad as that may seem.  And so, we have a much closer relationship with each other than most families would normally, perhaps, perhaps not.  Issues have come up where we have tried to help each other so much so that maybe we came off as overbearing.  And it is this ‘co-dependence’, if you will, that gives me pause.  Maybe as adults we need to realize that we are on our own; in our own families.  And, though the support is certainly needed and appreciated, we can’t live the lives of our siblings.  Nor can we presume to know them or make their decisions for them.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was talking with a friend who was discussing her families issues with me and we were comparing notes.  It dawned on me that in the family tree, each member has their own ‘box’, if you will.  Now, everyone is included in the tree and in the grouping under the parents.  But each child has their own — for lack of term — ‘box’ where their name and date and place of birth is written.  In another ‘box’ next them might be the spouse and then under the two ‘boxes’ are the ‘boxes’ of each of their offspring.

I’ve placed it in this context because it performs as a mental diagram, showing me that after we “fly the coop” we leave to have our own lives and marry, have children.  We leave that umbrella of our parent’s protection to be on our own, make our own choices (hopefully they are good choices, but sometimes they aren’t).  Regardless the choice, when you are as close as we are, often you lose sight of the fact that you are each your own families (your own islands) and are no longer required to ‘approve’ or disapprove’ of the lives that other’s lead.  Nor are you required to ‘save’ each other from whatever it is that you may feel that person needs ‘saving’.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my siblings and support them 1000%.  And, we have issues in our family (if you’ve been reading my posts, you’ve already figured that out).  But, there comes a time when we all (not just my siblings but each and every one of us) has to realize that we’ve come into this life with our own set of rules and our own plan.  That is my belief anyway.

Full Siblings

Image via Wikipedia

Oh, and those ‘boxes’ that I refer to?  They aren’t all by themselves.  They are connected (be it a line or a branch).  But there is a connection and that connection, that line signifies that we are all connected in this life and are to always be here as a support system.  That doesn’t mean we are to take on the burden for the choices a person has made; for we all have choices and we all must live with those choices.  Not as a ‘punishment’; no, it’s simply a circumstance of that choice.

I am a box in a matrix of boxes connected by branches in a tree that is connected to millions of other trees through the root system (and this can go on and on and on).  Pretty interesting stuff, when you think about it…puts my mind at ease anyway.  I am my own box.


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