Several weeks ago I posted about my kids and ex and some of my family frustrations, which got me to thinking very deeply about relationships and why my life (sans their frustrating choices that hurt my kids and/or I quite often) is so filled with love and joy. I came to this realization: Family-By-Choice.
A couple of years ago, coincidentally right about the time I was divorcing the love of my mother's life, she told me that I was an extremely difficult person to love, and that I had been since I was a child.
I look around me and I know she's wrong. The only problem is that it's taken me nearly 40 years to see that.
Why did it take that long? Simple. Programming. I've been told that message by the people who, by blood, should love me unconditionally that I'm difficult.
I'm kinda proud of being difficult, if by their definition it means that I'm loved and blessed to be surrounded by INCREDIBLE supportive wonderful people. Because that IS what it means in my world.
And the depth and breadth of my gratitude is immeasurable for these incredible men and women in my life who love and support me and lift me up daily. I always hate to call them "friends", the truth is that they have taught me family. They've taught me my capacity to love and have accepted and returned that love unconditionally.
I have mother's and sister's and brother's and father's who hold me accountable, with grace and truth. Who encourage and build me up every day. I've walked with them through trials and tribulations that would shake the foundations and sanity of most, and I've watched the extreme strength that they exhibit through the tough days and the horrible things that have been thrown at them. In spite of what the universe has given them, I feel proud to have been there walking beside, being family.
And when my own foundation shattered, I was not alone for a minute. I was carried and pushed and forced to find my own voice, and my own strength, but never alone.
There are people in my world who I've watched question life, and the world around them, but they've never questioned my love or loyalty, nor I theirs.
So thank you all for your unconditional love and understanding; your compassion and integrity; for being my family-by-choice (and YES, my darling extended family this does include you, who have been there when others were not!).
Because of all of you I'm pretty comfortable at 40, being labelled as "difficult to love"--labels you can peel off and discard.
Mother also said "never air your dirty laundry in public"...