I am reading a novel at the moment, sorry but I do not even recall what the name is or who the author is. But, it’s fictional novel about a husband and a wife and their trials and tribulations of trying to have a family when they cannot naturally have one. The first big thing that popped out at me was the husband, Sam, who had lost his natural parents to them passing away and he was sent from family home to foster to family homes over and over again. It has not been easy for me to read, and if you’ve read about my 100 FAQs, you’ll understand why this book has been a bit difficult for me to process.
One of the things that really struck me was the fact that Sam had trouble with adult relationships (wife, family, etc.) and how he needed them but was unable to truly put his heart and soul into them becasue of the way he was raised – always feeling unloved or unwanted. Because that was all he’d ever known. He even had a brother who was adopted by a family who didn’t want him.
My ‘birth’ family – a few years before the end of our original family life
Man-o-Man, reading Sam’s early life struck a big knife in my heart…I knew exactly how he felt. Mind you, none of my “original” siblings were ever adopted by anyone they lived with and neither was I. But, the part about not being wanted? Yeah, that was me. Totally. While my siblings got to live a life with various family members [my three brothers basically grew up together, even though two were raised by an uncle (my dad’s brother) and my older brother by the same uncle’s daughter’s family and our sister was raised by cousins (on my dad’s side of the family)]. THEY stayed in one place throughout their childhood, while I went from foster home to foster home and eventually to an aunt and uncle on my mother’s side of the family the day I turned 15, who finished raising me. Four foster homes from the time I was 11-years-old until I turned 17 when I was on my own. The first two were bad – awful, frankly. I was actually removed from the first one by the police so that should tell you how bad that home was – and it wasn’t because I was a juvenile delinquent. The second was where our sister lived, and there wasn’t a day that went by that they didn’t tell me they didn’t want me there – everyone in the house reminded me that I needed to find someplace else to live, from my cousins and expecially by our sister. The third was a great family, they just had bad things happen while I lived there when they lost their youngest daughter to cancer. Their grief was too much for me to bear, after having already buried my baby brother and both of my parents. I barely knew how to handle myself, let alone the grief of others – which also included my own grief over their loss. Things were fine at my aunt and uncle’s house, though I never truly felt like I fit in with them. I still don’t, even though we have a good relationship. They have their natural daughters living close to them, and have access to their grandchildren (by their daughters) close, too. We live over 1000 miles away, so our relationship is basically via email and (very) occasional visits. We live this far away by choice, of course, because my home will always be where my husband is and right now, that’s near his mother.
The thing is, I never really realized how I, throughout the years, looked for love. My aunt will say I’m loyal to those who love me, unless they really hurt me or my family in some way. Through that loyalty was love, in my mind’s eye.
I knew I didn’t really fit in with any family that I lived with – because I wasn’t their natural children. I was treated differently by ALL of the families I lived wtih, because I wasn’t “theirs” – and to this day, I continue to feel like I’m floating in nowhere-land because I have nothing but love-ties to the two families that I am still in touch with. That division of mine and ours was a very fine line in the sand, but I knew that line and was unable to cross it. I also know that in the last foster home I lived in, I had a fear EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. that I was going to do something wrong and they would send me packing, too. As I read about Sam’s life, I realized that I still felt that way…like everything I have now could be gone any minute.
But now, I have my own family to love. A husband who would AND DOES take care of me in every way he can – from loving me unconditionally to taking care of my health matters. And we have four wonderfully loving (and smarter than their mother) children who were made with love and who have known from the day they were born that we loved them.
My own family – my husband and our four children
Again, something I never had growing up – I do not even recall a time when my own parents said they loved me. The only person I can say without question who loved me unconditionally was my mom’s mom – my Gramma from Tramma. There certainly may be others (such as my mom’s youngest sister) who loved me – but my Gramma from Tramma was my lifeline to love and I held on very tightly to that lifeline.
As I continue on with the novel, I see how much Sam holds back from everyone around him, because he is always afraid of losing them. Again, totally me. Although my husband knows more about me and how I grew up than anyone else (except probably an aunt of mine), there are still things he does not know. Those are parts of me that hurt so very much – and my aunt and uncle always told me to move forward and not look back. Hence, that’s how I live my life – even though going back is necessary to understand my actions and reactions to various things that happen in our marriage and family – it will define me for the rest of my life, whether I want it to or not. But, I’m not going back to the unloved child that I was. I refuse to do so.
Right now, I fear losing my kids, especially as our high school senior is planning the next stage of her life as a college student. I want her to go, to grow, to live life to its fullest. But, I don’t want to lose her, either. I’m not worried about losing her love, we’ve made sure she grows up in a house filled with love. It’s just the part about her not sitting beside us in church, not joining us for dinner, not coming out of her bedroom to share with us things about her day…her enthusium for her art and antics at school that is SO MUCH a part of our family dynamics.
Out of all of my growing up, though, I learned how I wanted to raise my kids. I wanted the good parts that made up a family – whether it be from my natural family or from one of the foster homes I lived in. I wanted to move forward, with love, to raise our children the best way we knew how. Sure, there’s been bumps in the road – but, never a rut so deep that we couldn’t find out way out of it. And I truly feel like we’ve done some good with our children. They love easily, they laugh quickly, they are compassionate toward others. The bottom line is that they are LOVED.
I will finish the book, and probably look over some of the trials and tribulations of Sam as he continues on with his life. I may not read it as quickly as I’ve read other novels – but, I’m pretty sure this one has a happy ending…and that is what we hope to achieve with our own children.