For most of us, the lucky ones at least, growing up in a family setting (whether it was just parent[s] and you or a large extended family) was like you had whole world surrounding you with love and care. As we grew older sometimes we made “best friends” outside of our homes, but coming home always meant coming to a place where you always felt you belonged.
As we grew up and experienced teenage angst and the trials of young adulthood, tempers and words now and then caused arguments and tears — generally our parents forgave us the cross words we used in pain, our siblings might not have been so forgiving quite as quickly, but they still seemed to have our backs when it counted. Somehow as adults… and maybe parents of adults, we may lose that capacity to forgive the cross words so easily. And some even seem to forget the importance of family. That is sad.
Someone says a cross word in anger or pain, or maybe it was just a poorly worded comment with no malice intended, but suddenly it causes a family divide. And you just let it go, let it fester, while you wait for an apology that might not even be understood. Time passes, time that you can never get back and some even run out of time to make things right. When you realize there is no more time, no chance to hug that person again, no time to say “I love you”, that’s when you cry over your memories and especially the memories you were cheated out of.
Nowadays so many are taking mail-in DNA tests to find family that they may have never known existed, but somewhere along the line there was a break, a divide, people just drifted apart. While it is a great thing to find those long-lost family members, you can’t help but wonder what it would have been like to share the years before you found each other. Yet, even for those who crave those DNA matches, not all of them hang on to what they already know they have just because someone got annoyed.
Hang on to your loved ones because no one has forever. You can’t redo lost years; you can’t share memories that you were never together to share. And down the road when you realize how much you’ve lost, you might begin to question if waiting for that demanded apology was really worth it. There is a saying, “if you want a lot of space in your life, just be angry at the people around you,” and it could get very lonely. Even if you raised that child, realize that not everyone is going to think the same way you do. And even if your older parent seems to be annoying because they are so “stuck in their ways”, they are not always going to be there. Remember that siblings are often the first playmates you ever had and you’ve shared your lives and memories together.
Logistically many families don’t remain together in the same locale and you may have to work a little to keep including each in your life. Between marriages and extended families, and when children or grandchildren come along, it’s hard to keep giving the same time to everyone, but make sure to remember to reach out. The effort is well worth it. Remember to tell your family members that you love them, pause and think before you let anger respond, share your thoughts, listen to theirs, and let them know how precious they are in your life.