Today I reflect on family, mostly because Family Day is here and I feel obligated to at least think about what that means, but also because I think it’s important to acknowledge that we’re all basically in the same crazy boat, navigating the unruly waters of our family tree.
You see, we all have to deal with a bit of crap. For some, it’s an overbearing mother-in-law that just won’t give; for others, a sibling that requires way too much attention, or an aunt that doesn’t seem to agree with anything.
Some families are broken, some nuclear, and some entirely unconventional. Some are quaint and quiet, while others extended and chaotic. Some very close, and many across continents and oceans. The thing is, we have zero say in the matter and pretty much have to buck up and deal with the hand we’re given. Even the most seemingly perfect family has its dose of drama, but life would be boring otherwise wouldn’t it?
I learned a while ago that wasting energy on trying to please everyone or expecting anyone to change is just a load of wasted energy that could be put to far better use. We cannot control the actions of others, only our own reactions.
So I say, don’t bother fretting about family drama that seems colossal but really doesn’t change a damn thing because guess what? One day, our grandparents die, our parents die, we die and it’s far better to keep your mind focused and work on that legacy of yours. Besides, those crazies likely do love you in their special way (and may even have sacrificed their own fair share in your honour) and although you may not realize it now, this has all influenced your personal growth and the way you now choose to mold your own clan.
It was at the bedside of my fragile, dementia-ridden grandmother last fall that I looked mortality straight in the face and realized that the minutia we all squabble about with our mothers, fathers, siblings and so on, doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
We hadn’t been back to the old country for 15 years, and her nurses confirmed that she would have no way of knowing who we were, as she barely knew who she was herself. Yet, after two hours of holding her hand and telling her stories while she sat silently in her hospital bed, we locked eyes and she knew. She understood her granddaughters had come from across the globe to be with her, and was overcome with emotion. It was a moment in time that will live within me forever.
You see, the heart overrides the brain every single time, and that’s all that matters. The bullshit little things in between are just that, bullshit little things. On your deathbed, they won’t matter in the least.
So I urge you, lead with your heart and spend less time trying to fix people and more time letting them be. We have to celebrate the families we have, and be grateful to have them at all. One day it will all turn to dust and we’ll be left with a stack of memories. Let’s at least make those count.
And PS: if you need a backup plan there’s always the family you choose.
Just look up the #RebelMama hashtag.
Featured Image: Dolce & Gabbana
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