unruly

Photo by John Jack Anderson

 

Name Change. Because I accidentally typed “unruly mom” in an email, instead of “unruly mob”…and, miracle of miracles, for some reason no one has ever thought to snatch up the domain name unrulymom.com until now.

I mean – it RHYMES *and* it’s a play on words.

So, that was something that made me happy after a rough couple of days.

I want to say things about love and friendship and how complicated it is to deal with conflicting feelings about depression and suicide.

Instead, I think I’ll just say a few words about family. Or, interchangeably to me, Community. Family is a concept I have struggled with all my life. I come from a large family, but they are not all my Community. It is an oddly mismatched group of people with a somewhat similar upbringing. As the youngest, I don’t feel like I ever really got to know my eldest family members all that well. As the half-sibling to all of my 6 siblings (3 with the same monther, 3 with the same father) I’ve always felt like both the outsider and the tie that binds.  Though I do remain in touch with some of my immediate family members, for whatever reason I’ve never been connected to my extended blood relatives. This could be why I spent much of my adolescence (and beyond) cultivating relationships that imitated family.

Now that I have children of my own, my lack of a solid connection with my larger family disturbs me. I worry my children have inherited this disconnection by default. I do my best to encourage them to be conscious of their connections, but I haven’t set a very good example, and I’m not much of a “do what I say, not what I do” kind of parent. So I try to compensate by committing to my Communities in a way that some people commit themselves to their families

To me, family is about staying connected to people even if you screw up. It’s about second chances, asking for forgiveness and fully expecting to be forgiving. It’s about being forced to learn to get along with people who might not agree with you, and being patient when you don’t agree with them. Sometimes it’s about setting boundaries and enforcing them. Sometimes it’s about giving in.

Today, I’m reminding myself that even family members make mistakes. Even familial love has its limits. Sometimes people need more than their immediate family. Sometimes they need an entire community. And sometimes it takes an extreme circumstance for family OR community to respond to the needs of its meekest members. Sometimes it’s just impossible to know thin the rope is until someone is hanging by the last strand.

I’m very glad I don’t have to talk about one specific family member in the past tense. I’m once again in awe of this community I have haphazardly become part of. A community that responds to a cry for help by organizing a people-powered dragnet to comb the city and rescue one of their own. A community that responds to a loss of hope by fully reinforcing the reason why we should have hope in the first place. A community of people who arrive in the nick of time. Maybe not precisely when we want them, but time and time again I see my community members…my Brothers and Sisters…get there EXACTLY when they are NEEDED.

This world is a scary place. I’ve lost too many loved ones to despair, and I don’t really care to lose more, though I certainly understand how one would get there. Today my brothers and sisters have restored my faith and hope in family and community – and the necessity of both. Thank you for providing the best of both worlds as an example for my children. Thank you for providing such a wonderful example of mutual aid and selflessness to anyone fortunate enough to witness it. ❤

 

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