Letting go to grow

Today I feel sad. The only reason that I really know of is that I have to say goodbye to my little nephews again. I had to do this before when they moved away but this is a little different. I think they are the most important people in my life because I seem to react very strongly around them. They require me to be something that I would not normally strive for. They are very intelligent which demands a lot my energy but it is so worth it to know them.

We went camping yesterday and although I tried to do it perfectly, I messed up bad. I am probably being extra hard on myself and most people would just brush it off. But for me, I have to hold very high standards with these little guys. I only want what is best for them and I realize that in this moment, I am not. It hurts but I know that they will understand when they are older. I will be back when I can be sure I will not jeopardize their mental health.

They are so special to me and I truly love them. I suppose that is the biggest thing. With them, I experience the closest thing to unconditional love. They, more than anyone else on this earth, have been teaching me about this very powerful emotion and choice.

I guess it is a choice. I think that because it is something that we must be conscious of and it seems to dictate our actions. I know it`s an emotion because it can be very powerful, causing one to act in unexpected ways. I surprised myself today when I admitted to my ugliness.

My boyfriend and I took them camping and fishing which they have been looking forward to since they got their fishing rods for Xmas. I think I wanted to keep it more cerebral because of the pressure I would put on myself to afford them a good time. There is nothing I love more than to see them happy…except to see them healthy. And it breaks my heart into a million pieces to see them struggle. And with love, you must let go to let them grow. This is I guess what parents must go through on a deeper level. Well, I suck at it royally.

They are not even my kids but somehow they have made their home in my heart as if they were. In a way, this is worse, because I am “just” the auntie so I don`t have much say in their lives. I know that their parents know best for them…or at least this is how it should be. But when I see something that may not be best for them in the big picture (I seem to think I have this talent…don`t all Auntie`s?), I just want to help.

So anyway, back to the camping trip. I have had differing opinions with my sister and her husband for a while. I guess if I am to be completely honest, I am not the best sister or sister in law. I have worked on it with all I know how but I seem to make no leeway no matter how/what I try. Starting over does not seem like an option because of a fractured past. In a way, I guess I have probably given up trying to have a close relationship with my siblings. I realize that in life there some that just won`t like you…and you can`t make them. I think I now direct more energy towards my nephews because I KNOW I can be a good Aunt.

The saddest thing happened though. I failed at being a good Aunt. I made a mortal mistake when I was in a very weak spot. It really wasn`t like me but it hurt them all the same. I know that they have seen it before with other members of my family but I swore they would never see it with me. I feel absolutely terrible but in a way, it was a critical moment that had to happen.

It suddenly became clear to me on this trip that my boyfriend and I were not to be together. I was trying to keep a steady face because I didn`t want to put them through that stress. No kid deserves that. I know, because as a child, I went through it with my parents. I said I would never let my kids go through a situation that made them feel uncomfortable like that. It is brutal. I can still remember the knots in my stomach when my parents would fight.

Anyway. My boyfriend would not have any secrecy and though I tried to keep them out of it, my nephews sensed what was going on. I guess that was the straw that broke the camels back. I freaked out when my boyfriend brought them into the “situation” and said a few snide remarks against me. I guess it was really my fault for reacting. But man, I just went into protective mode. I had to let him know that speaking against people is extremely destructive behavior in front of kids.

So in the end, my nephews knew it was a break up and felt really uncomfortable to have been involved. I hate that it happened but I learned a very valuable lesson. I need a more training and time before I can say I am a good Auntie. I guess I require more refining before I can safely be around them in good conscience. I am actually quite relieved to have been given this opportunity make a solid boundary of behaviour I will not tolerate. When it comes to children, doing the right thing always seems so clear to me.

I need to find a way to forgive myself for all the mistakes I have made with my family through all the years. Because when these little guys bring up these faults of the past, (and they always do at just the right moment…smart, they are testing me) I need to be stronger. It is no good to be defensive or get angry with them. That is just the opposite reaction that they need to experience when dealing with me. I want to be positive that no matter what, I will be able to handle any test of my morals, ethics, and integrity. No one is perfect but shoot for the moon and you will reach the stars.

I compromised my life mantra…Be the change you want to see. I feel terrible for saying something negative about my sister in the height of all this emotion. I did the one major thing that I think is wrong in most destructive relationships. I believe strongly that speaking against ones` own is a breech of trust and respect for all parties involved.

I am confident that in a few years, I will have grown to a state of maturity that will allow me to love properly. I am lucky that I can go away and fix these issues without having my nephews see the ugly process. I know that parents can`t do that. They just have to work it out and the kids see it all. But kids love their parents no matter what. But it is not the same with extended family if they are not shown a good example. Parental influence is such a major factor in how kids are around others. This direct reflection that really made me realize just how unacceptable it is to be so careless with words.

I love my siblings for being so brave to have children. I admire that they are raising them the best they can even without a great example of their own. I don`t really think I have it in me to raise kids properly right now…It`s so obviously very hard! But it is my duty to be a healthy role model for thier kids impressionable souls. And I can. And I will. One day, my nephews may read this and know that I love them enough to break old patterns which don`t serve my higher self. And they may be inspired to take the higher ground as well, no matter the immediate discomfort and price.

A very smart woman wrote in my little book of travel quotes the following: I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything does not mean I will refuse to do the something that I can do! ~ Helen Keller ~

Amazing reminder, Andrea. Thanks for that because it really helped me realize that this painful decision is not all for naught. And congrats to both of you for becoming one of my most inspiring couples to watch grow together.

I also have to say that my mom and dad are pretty amazing. Even after all that fighting, and extreme nastiness, they found a way to work it out. After 10 years apart and a messy divorce, they were loyal to each other all the way. They are now remarried and seem to be practicing the very difficult act of forgiveness on a daily basis. Wow. Thanks for listening to me today, Mum and Dad. (Mom make sure dad sees this) You redeem yourselves again and again.

So. I know this was a long crazy entry but I just don`t care. I know that I am probably too open but this is my best form of therapy. And it`s free, for the most part. The only cost is my ego which I have to give up to recover from my issues.

My siblings will understand one day that it was written in love. Then she may forgive me for posting our “stuff” for all the world to see. I learned a long time ago that just because you love someone, doesn`t mean you can be with them. I just didn`t realize it included family. True love means wanting what is best for the other person…not what you want. This is a hard one for me to grasp for sure but I am learning. How awesome that I got a family that tests me and challenges me to grow so dramatically. Four generations I have known and they are still going strong.

So. I learned that no matter how messed up things can be, it is never too late. And making a difference may not come in the way you expect. I will forever be in debt to these teachers in my life. Respecting their lessons are the least I can do though it means letting them go for a while to afford a new beginning.

Today I am grateful for forgiveness.

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