Friday, June 28, 2019

When Friends Make for the BEST Relatives

I recently created the #FridgeMagnet to the left and popped it into my #Etsyshop after an email conversation with someone I hadn't seen in years. (If you'd like to purchase one, simply beeline here:Funny Friendship Magnet )

It's been 30 odd years since this someone and I have talked, if I remember correctly, he'd left a nice note on my car in a parking lot and later we bumped into each other that day to chat. Leaving a kind note on one's windshield wasn't an everyday occurance for me back then. It was something I'd do for others, and I'm sure most reading this post can relate to offering gestures like this. Giving positive feedback without expecting something in return wasn't the norm in the community I grew up in. Positive feedback was also unfortunately scant, well, non-existant in my upbringing. They worked hard to put a roof over my head, clothes for me to wear, travel opportunities to treasure and an appreciation of art I am indeed so grateful to them for that.

The affluent place I was raised in is now cost-prohibitive for many to reside in. This town, although in Connecticut, is really a suburb of New York City. The Big Apple where 'if you can make it there you can make it anywhere'. This proud arrogance that Sinatra sang of embodies good and bad qualities. To embrace the mettle to make it in a competitive community is admirable. But the pressure to succeed in a competitive town with solid schools and desireable real estate is anxiety-inducing for those lacking sustainable family support.

By sustainable I don't mean money, I mean consistant, positive parenting. Parenting that always offers love even when the child needs to be shown boundaries. Family support in my mind means being present, being there, even if hanging several steps away in the background. Caring is hard, but essential for all to harbor.

But some families? Just. Aren't. There. Maybe their own upbringing formed their detachment, or inability to understand how to nuture, so ego-centric expectations and difficult personalities don't over-ride the basic emotional necessities of child-rearing. I feel positive consistancy usually impresses on siblings how to be there for each other too, even if personalities are worlds apart.

I've come to believe that some families can't get it together, and although it's hard to forgive, letting go of disappointment in their character short-falls is a process that some of us have to travel through.  I do know this, parenting is the hardest job on earth, and this reality offers me emotional balance, if not a burgeoning subdued-perspective of the past. Along the journey of waving goodbye to what we wish could've been, one learns to grow up without the parent, and good people, people meant to be there for us, appear along this path.

These people are our friends.

They are our chosen relatives.

How lucky are we that we can choose.

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