Family and Friendship by Robin Gorman Newman
I am not a happy camper right now.
I caught the cold from hell….likely from Seth (though it wasn’t that bad for him), and we have a wedding this weekend. I have to get psyched, despite tissues, cough drops, nose spray, and all.
We will be driving four hours to Binghamton, NY for the wedding of a gal I’ve never met. It’s the daughter of a cousin. We thought it would be nice to see family we haven’t seen in some time, but as it turns out, many aren’t going. And, the older folk, my aunt and uncles, are mostly deceased, so it’s kinda bittersweet. But, we’re not gonna cancel.
It’s up to the cousins and others in the younger generation to connect, but for whatever reason, I’m not close to my family, whether on my father’s or mother’s side. Never have been (except for select aunts/uncles who I miss). Part of it, I suspect, is because my sister and I are on the younger side compared to many of our cousins (on my dad’s side in particular) who could almost have been our parents (if they were young parents). Not that age should matter, but it puts you in different places in your life and in a position where you can’t necessarily relate all that well to each other.
My mom’s side is a different story. She had a major fallout with my favorite aunt at the time (her older sister), and they both passed away never making ammends. So sad. Tragic really. And, as a result, it estranged my sister and I from our cousins. Not that we had a fight with any of them, but we all drifted apart, given the wrath of our respective mothers.
Family is a tricky thing. I was watching Piers Morgan on CNN earlier this week, and he was interviewing Janet Jackson. It was the first time I’ve heard her speak at length and so candidly. He probed about her life growing up in a famous “fishbowl” where you’re part of a highly celebrated family that when mentioned brings to mind both huge talent and eccentricity (and not necessarily in that order). What was that like? Her response was that she didn’t know anything different, and that every family, famous or not, has challenges. I couldn’t agree more.
Marc and I thought going to this wedding would be good for Seth. Being that he is an only child, we have a high consciousness of family and our desire to instill that in Seth. We make a point of trying to connect him with his cousins, when possible, and to send cards, make calls, etc. We want him to know that family, beyond us, exists for him..
But, at the end of the day, we can’t choose our family. We can choose our friends. And, Seth does a good job in that arena.
Just because people are blood-related (and in this case, they’re actually not for Seth, since he is adopted), doesn’t mean you’re going to feel a bond. And, you certainly don’t want to promote one if it doesn’t feel welcome or mutual.
Seth has always had friends and been social. We’re gearing up for his 8th birthday party, and there’s no shortage of kids coming. And two nice boys he’s been in school with since they were four will be there. It’s very sweet to watch them grow up and remain buddies.
I hope Seth will always have good friends in his court. I feel confident he will. He’s a caring, loving kid who enjoys others, and makes friends easily. That will serve him well as the years go by. And, while I also hope that he will stay in touch with cousins, we’ll see what the future brings. He, like my sister and I, is the youngest of his cousins. But, as long as they’re able to play things like Wii together, they stand a good chance. A good game of Mario Bros. knows no age.