Sunday, November 15, 2009
I have spent a large portion of my life wishing my family was "The Waltons". Unrealistic? You bet. And even after years of therapy, I still long for the Waltons, especially around the holiday season. I want my big, extended family gathered around the table for Thanksgiving, enjoying our time together, playing some games, watching football, and pitching in together for a joyous experience. This year, I asked my Dad if he and my brothers (the three who who live together, with my Dad) would like to come to our house for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of a yes or no, I got, " Your brothers can go to your house and I'll have peace & quiet here alone." It's my Dad's standard answer. Why do I continue to ask when the response is always the same? Is it that hope indeed springs eternal? Or am I insane, according to Einstein's definition? (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results) Perhaps, I need more therapy : ) Why do I expect that just because we are all related that we should spend joyous holidays together? Why am I the only one in our family to have the 'let's spend joyous time together' gene? I need to let go of this unrealistic desire for quality family time. The problem is, I don't know how. For someone who wasn't able to have children and create her own "Walton" scenario, and who, truth be told, was terrified of the idea of being someones Mom, it all seems like, too little too late. Had I matured at a more reasonable rate, perhaps I could have developed some sense of 'family' with my husband and adopted children. But, that ship has long since sailed. Instead, I find myself longing for something that probably exists only in TV land; the big, happy, in spite of trials, family spending time together and actually enjoying it! What to do? Not the same thing as usual, that's for sure. The usual most often included my husband's now deceased parents and his brother and sister-in-law, their kids and sometimes, the sister-in-law's family. This year the sister-in-law's family is having Thanksgiving at the beach. And they would've included us, but the husband has to work the day after Thanksgiving, as well as the day before. There have been times when one of my married brothers has invited us to their house with their kids and grandkids, but not this year. Perhaps the simple truth is that I am not really liked by my siblings. I mean, I have my Dad, one sister and and six brothers along with various spouses, their children and their grandchildren to whom I am related. Yet, I can't, in all honesty, say that I would welcome ALL of them with open arms, holiday or not! Ah, there's the rub. The fly in the proverbial ointment. I want to pick and choose who gets to be in my Walton fantasy. The ones with whom I have little desire to associate are the very ones who would always show up! If I truly wanted the big happy TV land family, I would be willing to invite and accept the whole famdamily. It is silly and unrealistic to expect the Balkovecs to ever be the Waltons. I want the people I love to love me and those I like to like me back, but that's not how families or the world, for that matter, works! It's always the club that doesn't want us as members that we really wish to be a part of, right? Not this time! I accept that I have only Raymond. That's way more than some folks ever get. I'm going to make the turkey, mashed potatoes, and all the trimmings. The invitation is open. Just let me know if you're coming so that I have enough seats for everyone. And if it turns out to be just the two of us, that's OK too. The idea is to be thankful for what we have, not what we wish we had.