Family are never the easiest of folk to get on with.
We’re born into them, survive with them for a time and then gradually snip them from our lives.
My Mum came from a big family.
Over the years they have managed to antagonise each other so much that few of them are still speaking.
This estrangement has no impact on my little brood.
My brothers and I rarely saw them and when we did they left a poor impression.
Their children, my cousins, are selectively in touch through social media.
In idle moments I will admit to browsing through to see what they’re up to.
Occasionally their parents pop up in photos and other than their physical decline, nothing is noteworthy.
There were 5 of them including Mum who was the oldest.
A few years ago the second oldest, who Mum kept in touch with, passed away in his home, alone.
His one love had long since left him and lived, mostly at his expense, in the family home with her new man.
He never found anyone else and spent his last working years in a hotel in Blackpool.
The next youngest has just passed away.
He wasn’t very bright, was an alcoholic and never recovered from his two children “coming out”.
These kids, whilst getting on with their lives, had no love loss for the old man as he drank himself into oblivion, even posting videos of him falling out of his chair and struggling to stand up, as little as a year ago.
When we contacted him, through his daughter, about his brother’s passing, she said he showed no interest. But added that he showed no interest in anything other than his dogs and the TV.
Many of us live a fiction that family is, was and always will be a loving cradle, harmonious, forgiving and there to fall back on.
Reality sucks and tells me otherwise.
I’m closer to friends than I am to my two brothers.
Our parting was all about their reaction to circumstances and situations than any petty bickering.
At difficult moments you find out who really loves you and sometimes it isn’t family.
I know that’s hard for some people to read.
Blogging, like all social media, allows you to create and perpetuate any fiction you choose, be it your wonderful marriage, your A1 kids or your frickin fantastic job.
If this post ranckles, it’s because I live in the real world and write about it.
At times I’m immensely proud of my kids (Jo’s been made a prefect, Heather was pupil of the term, Cerys is a star at Maths and Ashley amazes us most days) but many is the time when they really cheese me off (Jo can be rude and untidy, Heather likes to tell us how to parent, Cerys is so clingy and Ashley repeats himself until I have to just leave the room).
I don’t yearn for a reunion with my brothers. Lord knows they’ve shown their true colours over the years.
I won’t mourn for my uncle: he was a narrow minded bigot who sulked is way through many bottles of whisky because the world wasn’t just as he wanted it.
However, I will treasure my little mob and love them every day that I have left.
And I will value and work to maintain my friendships because it is them, and not my realationships, that have proved the most valuable over the years.