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Saturday, June 14, 2008


As I sit here feeling the need to write my mind wanders.....what do I need to write about? I can't find an answer so I start typing and hope the words will come.

Today I celebrated my birthday and Father's Day with my parents. We had a lovely dinner, but it was quiet. I come from a family of 5 children, with me being the only girl. Dinners at my parents' house is usually far from it was quiet. There has been a divide in the family. What started out as a stupid and meaningless misunderstanding has turned into a large and gaping hole. A hole that will not be easily filled. Years of misunderstandings, hurtful words, and circumstances that have gotten out of control have made this hole deep and filled with hurt and anger. My parents are suffering. I hurt for them, but I cannot fill the hole by myself. I can pick up my shovel and start digging, but it is too overwhelming for me....I put my shovel down. Today was a quiet was a good day, just quiet. The thought went through my mind, "this is what it feels like to be an only child". I felt sad. These feelings are brought on by only one brother and his can 2 people hurt so many, divide an entire family. It baffles my mind. I feel lucky to have 3 other brothers and a wonderful sister in law, whom I call Sister. I need to concentrate on the positives and spend less time dwelling on the negatives.

My birthday is Monday...I will turn 42. When my mom was 42 she was old....funny...I am not that old! What have I accomplished in my 42 years on this earth? My first response is nothing...but that is not true. I am a mom, a wife....I have many accomplishments. Each day is an accomplishment...sometimes just getting through the day is an accomplishment. My daughter is 13 and is on cusp of her teen age years...years of tremendous growth. I am very proud of her, she is a wonderful young lady. We have parented her well, of course we have made mistakes, we are not perfect. Our son is 8 and is a very sweet natured little boy. I am very proud of him. They are products of their environment. We have created a loving and nurturing home for them and it shows in their soul, their essence. They have peace in their life, we have given them a gift....what an accomplishment as a parent.

I have been married to Dave for 20 years. That in and of itself is an accomplishment. I love him more today than I did 25 years ago, when we first met. Our marriage has seen its ups and downs, but it is stronger now than it ever has been, and grows stronger every day. I was asked the following question recently - "do you still like him?" I could honestly answer that question - "yes, more than ever". In today's narcissistic society marriages have adapted an "easy come, easy go" reputation. Compromising, letting go, altruism, forgiving and forgetting, sharing, and loving another person are all traits of a strong marriage...and are all wonderful accomplishments.

So, yes, I have many accomplishments in my 42 years. Important ones, ones that matter. I can appreciate nature's beauty, take great pleasure in watching bees at work, a sunset, the birds' music. I can enjoy a child's laugh, watch a child grow in love and flourish. I can appreciate my mother's cooking, my father's advice and love. I can look at my husband and not imagine life without him. I can look at my children and see the future and know they will make a difference. I may not live in a huge house, or have a huge bank account. My car is 7 years old, but it runs. My house needs a lot of work, but it is a home filled with love.....and that is my greatest accomplishment and what I am most proud of.

As I look back on today I need to remember my accomplishments. I see my family divide as a failure on my part. This is not true. I am only one person. I am not perfect, I make mistakes, I am human. I have made my amends for my mistakes, I have filled in my part of the hole...I cannot fill it alone. I put down my shovel and now I need to remember my accomplishments. The hole will have to be filled by others, it is now out of my control.


ChrisB said...

Alison you have a gift with words~ this is such a captivating read.

It's so sad that family rifts can so easily happen but are then so hard to heal. I do hope for your parents sake things can be reconciled with your brother and his wife.

From what I have read on your blog you are absolutely right~ you have accomplished a lot and should feel proud so celebrate your 42 years in style :)

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Oh Alison {hugs}. Family rifts are not good. We have one in my family and Ilong ago realised it was not my fault and that, like you, someone else needed topick up the shovel. But they never did.

karisma said...

Hugs my sweet! You have a wonderful trip and enjoy your birthday! Sometimes we have to step back and realise we cannot please everyone or fix all their problems. Everyone needs to do that for themselves. Enjoy what you have, you are truly blessed and a blessing to others! I love you and we have not even physically met! (Oh how I wish we could!)

Whenever you feel at a loss, go lay down in your garden and talk to the fairies. They make very good listeners!

Have a wonderful, happy birthday, hugs and kisses xxxxx000xxxxx

PS. Hug a couple of trees for me while your there will you, it won't stop raining down here, we are stuck inside all the time!

suchsimplepleasures said...

i hope you have a wonderful birthday full of health, happiness and love!

i'm sorry to hear of what is going on within your family. it's hard to have to deal with. we are in the midst of family problems ourselves...and it is terrible.

i'm here if you need to talk...but, i think that you know that, right?!


Stella said...

Recognizing that it's out of your control is probably the hardest part of it all!

You have wonderful things to be proud of and you're right to remember those!!

Happy Birthday! Hope it's wonderful!

Please wish your husband a very Happy Father's Day, too!!


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful post. My sister has also managed to drive a wedge into our family that seems impossible to fix and it is hard to accept it is beyond my control.

Have a wonderful birthday, the life you created is a good one.

StillTrying said...

When you dig deep enough, seems you find this kind of situation in so many families. You did your best.
Happy birthday. I remember thinking my Mom was old at 42.
Now 42 seems so young.

Sherryl said...

Hi Cuz
I wish we had more alone time when I was out there last week. You have such a wonderful way with words. I can so relate to the shovel. For many years I have carried that shovel, now, unfortunately, the shovel has broke. I have to look at what I have accomplished and remember what Tommy tells me. There are a thousand who love me for who I am and I need to not worry about the one. It's hard. I can't wait to see you soon.... only a few weeks to go.
Love you....

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Remember that relationships are a two-way street! Be the best that you can be in this situation. Hang in there!

Becky said...

Happy Birthday!
great reflections!
I will hit the big 4-0 in the fall. Seems unreal NOT old anymore!! At least I don't want it to be!

Mother Goose said...

Happy up coming birthday! It is true. You can only do your part and make a mends. Celebrate your accomplishments. Another very good post.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Lovely post.
I'm so sorry you're having family issues; I know how hard that is.
I think you have certainly accomplished much in your 42 years! Happy Birthday!

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, but I want to wish Dave and all the wonderful fathers a Happy Father's Day - a day late, but very sincere!

I think good Fathers are unsung heroes. The ones who are there for the 2 oclock feedings, the diaper changes, the illnesses, the temper tantrums, the triumphs, the tragedies, or just to say "listen to your mother" and who are always be supportive and kind to their children and loving to their wives.

I had such a father, as did my husband and my 3 sons have such a father. What vast riches these fathers give their children!

Happy Father's Day, gentlemen!

Karen in SC

Grand Life said...

I was touched by your post. I also had a birthday this weekend and my family is also in crisis this week. I am the only and oldest girl in a family of 5 also. One brother is causing stress for entire family-- does this sound familiar. I learned long ago that somethings can't be fixed but my Mom at 85 is still very co-dependent with little brother and wants to make it all better. My heart aches for her.
I hope things get better for you soon. I like you am lucky to have 3 other loving brothers.

lisa marie said...

You're right, you can pick up the shovel but everyone else needs to join in. I'm sorry for the rift in your family.

Being an only child sucks, so I can feel your pain.

Happy 42nd Birthday Alison!

Faye said...

Hope you've had a great birthday Alison. I always get reflective on my birthday even if it isn't a benchmark one.

I hope your family figures a way out of this stalemate. From this post I can see how it's weighing on you. You're right though to focus on the positives--many--in your life.

Tera said...


How I know your hurt...all too well. You probably remember my own posts dwelling on the hurt in my own family. I am so glad you choose to look beyond the hurt and at all the positives you have created for yourself in life. They are truly works of art. I wish you a very happy birthday, complete with peace within your heart. Quiet is sometimes a good place to be. Happy Birthday!

Blue Momma said...

Happy Birthday!!! Hope you had a great one.

I have a dysfunctional family too, but mine has always been that way so I am used to it. I hope your rift heals soon and you can all get back to normal.

Anonymous said...

The dysfunction in our family was between my mother and her mother and sisters. Since I was little it seemed they were always at odds. Anyway, one Sister disappeared, another has passed away and my mother hasn't had a conversation with her mother or older sister in years.

I don't understand it - never have. Funny thing is the children of all the sisters get along very well. I hope that my children never experience such a thing. All of the sisters are very nice people but I think they are world class at nursing a grudge and therein lies the inability to let go of the slights and hurts no matter how long ago they occurred.

It's like living with the Hatfields and McCoys in your family.

Karen in SC

GoldenOldie said...

Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday to You
Happy Birthday Dear Alison
Happy Birthday to you.

Take the shovel and dig a hole in your yard and plant a new rose bush or flower, then always remember that you did all you could to make things beautiful.

Pamela said...

I think you're in good company. I don't know any families that sing in total harmony all the time.

Irene Latham said...

Happy Birthday Alison the Accomplished! :) Your priorities are so in the right place -- love love love. That's what it's all about. And as for the family stuff? We expect so much of our family members. As if because we love them, they should be more than human. Then we are disappointed when they show us their humanness. This is one of those butterfly things... gotta let it go, let them go. Instead of focusing on the loss, focus on getting our own needs met. My gut feeling is we move through grief best by giving of ourselves. Perhaps there are other "sons" your parents can love right now? Just a thought. Thinking of you as you move through this... we have a similar rift in our family but it's not new. Take care. xxoo

Jennifer said...

42....GOOD LORD!! What a relic!! Have you got your nursing home picked out yet???
Happy Birthday, Happy Father's Day and FAMILY SUCKS!!!!

bichonpawz said...

You do have a way with words, Alison. Happy Birthday! I can so relate to the whole family divide thing. We have that in my family as well. Caused by my younger sister. The hole is very deep and I fear it will never, ever be resolved. But, we must move forward. Somehow, we will all find our way. And you will to. Be grateful you have wonderful kids and a loving husband.

Debra W said...

Oh Alison,

You know that I can very closely relate to the pain that that hole leaves in one's soul, but you are so right when you say that it is time for you to put the shovel down. You have done what you need to do, the rest is up to someone else. But the pain, the pain never goes away. We can bury it for a while, but it always manages to resurface. I guess that is something that we must just accept, and learn to live around.

You deserve more, but sometimes people can be very, very selfish. I wish that I could say something that would make the pain lessen, but just know that I do understand.

Big hugs, and love,