“You take the good, you take the bad…”

The Facts of Life (TV series)
The Facts of Life (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Happiness is on the heart .. not in the hands!!!!

You ever sit back and silently wonder who family really is in your life? You ever wonder if you are supposed to keep in contact with that cousin of yours in another state or even the one right next door? You ever go to family gatherings and sit back and watch the weird looks and judgment that comes from many parts of the party towards other family members that they haven’t seen in so long? You ever actually pay attention to whom contacts you for real and what intentions the contact was for? For instance, you haven’t heard from your mother in so long and then suddenly the phone rings.. it’s her.. do you answer in happy anticipation that she misses you and would love to see you.. or sit back and wonder what she needs from you now? How about that sister that NEVER calls, writes, whispers, or even “pokes” any type of communication your way? Then out of the blue you are getting phone calls like nobody’s business and messages of sentiment you know are just fake and Bull@#$%? What about the secret gathering (weddings, reunions, birthdays) that occur and you don’t even know they exist until they put something on FB to brag about their good times? Or am I the only one?

I sit back and watch everyday pass by slowly and fast. I watch my kids grow up more and more and realize tears are flowing more frequently from my eyes than ever before. I sit back and just observe what’s actually important in my life and what I wish could or would be more important in my life. I grew up watching Gomer Pile, Green Acres, Married With Children, MR. ED, Little House on The Prairie, and many other perfect family household shows. I also frequented Rosanne, The Facts of Life, and Webster. The one thing these shows all had in common was family!!! They all portrayed a family that wasn’t perfect, but was there. Family that cared, called, wrote, wondered, and well stayed apart of. Then when Brady Bunch came about, I really felt this weird longing for goal to be more family like. What was wrong with this picture? I got to watch all these awesome well written “happy ending” family shows and got attached to the characters in such a way.. I almost felt apart of that family. Why? Where else do children go when there’s no one else to turn to? TV!

I found myself actually finding similarities with my mother and Rosanne. The biggest difference overall? My mother was and is an alcoholic. So I always fantasized that if my mother ever did quit drinking.. she would be just like Roseanne Arnold. I loved watching Rosanne. She was real, to the point, honest, cared, listened, told it like it was, and still pushed for family in her own way. She had her husband in her home, she had communication and care for her kids, she was in great contact with her sister and her sister treated her kids like her own… with love!!! So what was important to me.. well my mother was never going to quit drinking as she told me back in high school that her GOD was at the bottom of each beer can she drank… that’s why she had to finish each one. So I learned to live through my TV and writing.. I have always been more of a visual person. Music was my escape when I sang it.. but that’s it!!!

I remember these times of tears and hope and wanting that love as a child and I have done everything in my power to raise my children so that they know I love them, they know I care for them, they know I’m there for them, they know I’m listening, they know I back them up 100%, they know I’m the mom they want me to be when they want or need me to be that mom. I push this so hard on my kids that they are getting older now and I catch myself stating things that are negative about myself.. (in front of the kids.. oops) and they will actually stop me in my tracks and correct me. They tell me that I don’t see them much because they know I work to pay bills. They tell me they know when I do spend time with them, they know I can’t spend a lot of money and they are fine with that as long as we “bond”. Have I instilled my history of such a lonely childhood into my children so much that they are trained? I guess this could be a good thing. Maybe this is their way of saying “good job mom” for being the best you can be!!!

I love my kids with all my heart and I know my middle son loves me very much and shows and tells me all the time. I truly feel he doesn’t feel obligated because I’m with his mother (my lovely Violet). I feel like real family to him and he has more than enough reason not to trust me as a mom after what he’s been through in his past. I’ve slowly come to realize as well that my partner’s mother and father really see my boys and I as real family as well. This is truly hard for me to realize and accept since I’m the black sheep of my family and my oldest son unfortunately followed my footsteps on that. We are so badly thrown to the side and ignored in all aspect of anyone on my mother’s side. My mother has her moments that she really tries to show she cares for me, but in the end it my boys that get that unconditional love from a distance.. though it’s there.

Even with all this “family” that surrounds me… I sit back and realize what my family is. It’s a hard bullet to swallow to be honest. My dad is a man who came to know me from my marriage that failed from both of our ignorance and separate stupidities. Friends we try to be, but distance has become apparent for both boys and me. I have only know my “dad” for 5 years and I feel closer to him than any other man in my life that has become my dad or tried to become my dad through marriage or circumstance. Why? He loves me and accept ME!!!! He hasn’t tried to change me, he supports me, he took in my boys regardless of their flaws and differences with all his heart. Not just when it seemed fit for his social standing or when he felt he could gain something from it. He actually took all of us on whole heartedly with all the ups and downs and has made it clear that .. that will never change. It’s brought tears to say the least. It’s also brought shame and doubt. Why? This man means more to me than my own father!!! Is it because i know him better than anyone? Is it because he is the whole package? Is it because he doesn’t look down on me for my past and mistakes? Maybe…

My partner’s parents are a little harder to gather thoughts about. They are the sweetest most family reliant people I have seen in a long time. They are real, down to earth, open-minded, honest, loving, accepting, protecting, and passionate for each other. When you are given a hand full of gold and you’ve lived in poverty your whole life.. what do you do? Hide it, run from it, lie about it, cry from it, shake in fear, or openly accept a true gift that is meant to be yours? Well I may have not lived in poverty my whole life and it may not be a real handful of gold, but I tell you what.. it felt like it to me. I have a woman who I can call mom who actually brags about my boys in her social life, who actually accept my gift of love and kindness with wholehearted thankfulness and appreciation, who will actually come to my home and sit at my table and enjoy a good conversation between just me and her and not base the conversation on everything I’ve done wrong, who really appreciates my presence, and respects my accomplishments for what they are.

I have a dad that looks forward to my “goofy” hair and weird smile and cares enough to tell me that he’d like to see me more often and spend time with the boys more often. Who gives me hugs and pulls at my sense of humor and tests my ability to with stand the family sarcasm. He has known me a year and he’s complimented me on my parenting skills, accomplishments, and life status that has gotten me where I’m at today. In the little bit of time he has, he shows his fatherly skills toward me in jokes, smiles, offerings, caring questions, and compliments. He actually makes eye contact with me with pride instead of avoiding my presence or changing the subject whenever I speak. This man actually made a special trip with his BIG truck (semi) to my home to make it to a birthday party and actually stayed and had a good time.
Wow!!!! What a change.. what a lucky woman my partner was… what a new world I have to try to grasp…

How do I accept and believe something so great as family like this? My family is that of which I created and made decisions about. My family has become the people who I have opened my heart and life to and idly waited to slowly but surely disappear. People don’t just come into my life and call me a friend, sister, love, partner, daughter, cousin or otherwise with out some judgment or discretion. There is always an expectation of some sort waiting close by. What do they get out of it? Why am I asking that? Does that sound ungrateful and rude? I’m not trying to sound either.. I’m being real!!!

Turns out my family has become the comfort of my inner-being  being released to the right people. Turns out my family besides the my boys, has evolved from decisions that I’ve made in my past and ones I’ve made for my future. My family hasn’t come from the current bloodline that has decided I’m worth their time of day for the moment for whatever favor they need. My family hasn’t come from unconditional love of my elders and the pride they take in my existence let a lone my accomplishments. My family has come from me being me and my boys being who they are the best… themselves!!!! It’s come from the imperfections we all have and the right and wrong decisions we’ve all made. It’s come from the hard times we’ve gone through together and the future we plan to have together. My family has come from the open arms my boys and I can count on at the beginning or middle or end of the day regardless of rain or shine.

So what if I have a bad history, I chopped my hair past my families approval, I’m gay, I have two boys from two completely failed marriages, my first two books failed, I don’t have a perfectly clean house all the time, my credit is bad, I have a failed friendship that took me 15 years to build and hang onto, I don’t have a steady job history, I die my hair purple for fun, I have a severe arachnophobia, I came from a white trash neighborhood, I can’t cook, I don’t know my meats or fishes, I couldn’t change a tire if you paid me, I don’t know anything about planting a garden, I have a messed up knee from being stubborn, I have enemies that have no idea why they hate me, and guess what… so what!!!!

So what if my oldest is “special” and has his own thought process regardless if no one else understands them, isn’t all that quick, doesn’t catch onto things around him, not good at making friends, doesn’t do things well on his own, had his share of bad history, and guess what.. he doesn’t like many boy activities… so what!!!!!

So what if my youngest is practically “genius” for his age, outdoes all his peers, is very short, sneaky, evil (when he wants to be), can play mind games like nobody’s business, thinks he’s older than he really is, decides for himself if you deserve his love and attention by how you treat him, and guess what… so what!!!!

So we all know no one is perfect. This is a duh and a given. We all know we love our children in our own little ways and their little annoyances and quirks are what actually draws us closer to them in the end. We all know we have to live to learn and go through things in life good and bad to actually grow from it. We all expect these things right???

Well the family my boys and I have come across that have been the most real we’ve ever known do understand this!!! I actually have a grandma now that is disappointed not to see me every night. Not because she needs me to do something or be something far beyond my reach or energy… just because she misses my laugh and smile and cares about the tears that hide behind these very passionately endearing eyes that hold so many truths and lies that have been found and shared. I’ve been told I tend to hold the weight of the world on my shoulders. I guess this could be true.. Some one has to care right? Someone has to actually be real in life and love and appreciate for the right reasons right? The families I grew up watching on TV taught me that!!! There’s always forgiveness!!! Your children should have your unconditional love no matter what!!!! Nobody’s perfect and we shouldn’t expect them to be..

This is going to sound cliché.. but “he who hasn’t sinned, shall throw the first stone” .. I’ve come to understand and believe this in a different way. . . I’m not worried about it being right or wrong or what I should believe.. I’m not looking at the 10 commandments on this one.. I’m looking at being real… everybody lies, cheats, steals, messes up in their life.. in one way or another.. the stones we throw are the words of judgment and hate that come from being “better” than the other. Just because we have gone through it and moved on.. doesn’t mean we have the right to place that decision or judgment on someone else because everyone has to live their own life. In the end, I can look in the mirror without shame on myself or my family. I can stand proud that the things I’ve gone through has brought me not one, not two, but three beautiful boys, a gorgeous passionate honest partner, a very loving REAL dad, two wonderful parent-in-laws, a house, a car, a beautiful yard my children can play safely in, and a good long-lasting job I can count on to pay my bills.
So who is this “family” of mine to pass judgment on me? Who is this “family” of mine that doesn’t feel I should deserve their time of day for a visit or a phone call? Who is this “family” of mine that only cares when I can give them something or provide a service for them? Who is this “family” that puts their nose up in the air when I walk by hand in hand with my partner and love of my life because I don’t suit their decisions or lifestyle? Who is this “family” that doesn’t even try to waste their time to get to know ME and my REAL family?

I didn’t get taught life’s decisions from my mother and father when i was growing up cause they confused me. I got taught my life’s decisions from my TV shows and the family that I got to know there. I got taught to love and accept your children and people around you no matter what because that’s what you do!!! You love for the good and the bad!! You learn, accept, and move on!!!

Maybe TV was all I had and maybe that wasn’t such a good thing, but that warming laughter that came from Roseanne Arnold gave me hope. The acceptance and pure love that went to those children from all different backgrounds on The Facts of Life showed me I was different and that was ok. Gomer Pile’s oddity and the strange likeness you gained by his weird behavior was a highlight on my day. These families are what taught me what mine was supposed to be!!!

I’m not perfect and I have never and will never claim to be, but happiness lies in your heart.. not in your hands! My perfection doesn’t matter to my FAMILY and neither does it for my boys. I’m happy where I’m at and who I have the honor to call my REAL FAMILY!!!! I’m blessed by the love of the people that surround my boys and I and the open-minded nonjudgmental down to earth … REAL love they carry for us!!!!

Someday, maybe other “family” will see that too…

“You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life…”

(pssst.. Natalie was my fave)  😉