It’s interesting when you come from a not-so-small family, but you feel isolated from them. What’s intriguing is when both people in a marriage share this same experience. It results in a private island that both build their lives together on. An oasis if you will. A shelter from the storms of an external dysfunctional family.
My husband, Todd, and I both have this in our background. Neither of us is tight-knit with our siblings or parents even. I can’t speak for Todd, but for me, I’ve never been close to them. As a child, I sat on the outside of this family dynamic, all the while telling myself that these people were nuts. Crazy. Unbalanced. They were as close to insane as it gets.
These feelings didn’t subside as I entered adulthood either. To this day, I prefer to keep them far from my children, my grandchildren, my marriage, my life. I don’t have room for their toxicity. Although, I will admit, I hoped for a better relationship with my siblings later in life. Sadly, it never came to fruition.
What did manifest itself was a closeness with my children and husband that I find hard to describe. It extends beyond the family nomenclature. My immediate family is so much more than a basic social unit. I’ll break it down. Maybe this will allow me to provide an accurate description of what I mean.
I am a wife. I’ve been married for 18 years. But I’m much more than just a partner to my husband. Todd is my best friend. He’s the one person I hate leaving every morning to go to work, and the one person that I cannot wait to see when I get home. To put this into perspective, the moment we both leave for work, I yearn to see him again. Literally, the moment that I pull away from the house. Todd is the love of my life. Everything that I do throughout the day is for one purpose; to get back home to him at the end of the day.
I know others who are married that take separate vacations from their spouses. They have a girl’s night and guy’s night out where they go their separate ways and indulge in same-sex bonding. That’s not me. That’s not my husband. That’s not my marriage. I don’t want a girl’s night out. I don’t want a separate vacation. I don’t need my ‘alone’ time. All I want to do is be in the same vicinity that he’s in. If I go out, I want him to be with me. If I travel, I want him to travel with me.
I’m also a mother. I cared for my kids their entire lives. I fed them. Clothed them. Protected them. Nurtured them. Loved them. I did all the things that a mother does for her children. I still do. But it goes beyond that. I do love them, but I also like them. I enjoy the adults they have become. I’m proud of who they are. I embrace their differences from me. I support their decisions (even if those decisions are not something I would do). I enjoy their company on both levels – as a mother/child relationship, as well as a friendship. They light up my life in every way possible, and I always look forward to the next snippet of time that I get with them.
Despite experiencing such a fragmented family in my formative years, I have cultivated a private island of love, respect, and contentment. I’ve been blessed, and I look forward to the future and what it will bring.