blood and water

August 9, 2011 at 6:30 pm 10 comments

i have a hard time grasping the concept that family ~ no matter what ~ comes first over any and everything. the whole “blood is thicker than water” adage. don’t get me wrong, i love my family ~ well most of it ~ but there’s a lack of connectivity that i suppose leaves me unable to put a whole lot of understanding in what that is supposed to mean.

my mom was a first born ~ the oldest of what ended up being a number of kids ~ but at a very young age her mother didn’t feel like dealing with parental responsibility and sent her to live with her grandmother. she spent a few years there. off and on i think. but around the age of eight she met a couple ~ friends of friends ~ who were unable to have kids of their own. she began spending time with them and eventually found herself living with them. they never adopted her. they couldn’t. her birth mother would never simply sign her over. but she never fought to get her back either. she did, however, apparently offer up her asking price in a letter to my “grandparents”. a letter my mother holds onto to this day.

my mother never hid the fact that granddaddyM and NewM weren’t her real parents. she was always honest about her past. and she tried, best i think she could, to maintain some sort of connection to her “real” family even taking us to a reunion once. a houseful of aunts, uncles and cousins that were to me, complete strangers. my grandparents eventually adopted two others. so through strange family ties i have an extended. but there’s this other side ~ bloodlines extending into many ~ that i know so little about. over the last couple of years i’ve connected to a few through facebook. aunts, uncles and one very cool cousin ~ colorado father ~ who i now consider family in spite of the lifetime void of knowledge.

my father’s side offers no more past to my family story. growing up i always assumed he was an only child. i knew his parents had died before i was born and the few tales i’d been told didn’t seem to elicit happy memories so i never pushed for more. but one day when i was 12 my father showed me and my brothers a brochure for an interior design firm in san diego. morgan and morgan ~ a husband and wife team. and as i looked through the pamphlet, trying to figure out why we were supposed to care, my father shocked us with the fact that the couple featured was his half-sister and her husband. i won’t delve into too much detail but over the next eight years i came to adore my “new” aunt and uncle. they had no kids of their own and they seemed to take to me as much as i did them. i spent time alone with them in san diego. went to mexico. they vacationed with us and visited frequently. celebrated my birthdays. brought more meaning of family to christmas. i couldn’t believe my father had denied me of them for so long. and then one day in 1993 the call came.

my relationship with my father was already tenuous so i knew something was wrong when my mother insisted i take his call. ” your auntC and uncleG are dead”, he said. i literally collapsed. fell to the floor gasping for air barely understanding what he was saying as the story went from devastating to incomprehensible. he had killed her. beat her while she slept with ~ if i recall correctly ~ a lamp post. and then ~ seemingly overwrought by the guilt of his actions ~ he had killed himself. as i fought to process the information, my father dropped another unexpected. “we don’t have to worry about things. the details. my brother is taking care of all the funeral arrangements”. whoa!!! brother??? what??? i went from devastated to irate. he told me his name. i told him i didn’t want to know a damn thing about him. he told me it would all be ok. i told him to fuck off.  i couldn’t handle gaining another i’d someday likely come to lose. i hung up. scared to care about the family i wish i never knew existed. to this day i know nothing about my uncle. who he is. where he is.

having a child puts family into an entirely different perspective than i ever imagined. i used to so desperately want sab to know who she is. where she comes from. her dad’s side is a little on the crazy side as well. his mom a widowed mother of two at the age of 18. birth family extended. adoptive dad many. a jumbled mess i could never keep track of. and mine seems like dead ends. so many branches i don’t know how to be a part of. but is blood what’s really important? sab’s auntieK technically is nothing. my mom’s ex-boyfriend’s daughter. but to me she is my sister. has been since 1989 when she moved into my world. and a lazy sunday with the nyc girl and her little rock star almost feels like a family day complete with lemonade stands and dog play chaos. and my friends ~ red, sno, the islander ~ all there for me at a moment’s notice. they are my family. my heart. connected only by water that seems so much thicker than blood.


Entry filed under: family, life, parenting, random, relationships. Tags: , , , , .

here we go again she’s alive

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Paul Monday  |  August 9, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Crazy stuff Bec … Your (and my) moms bio mom did a number on that family … You have another layer to the story … Amazing we are all so normal with healthy relationships … Errrr …. Wait, scratch that … I guess divorced and not dating and overly defensive of my two person family unit may not exactly be defined as healthy …

    Thanks for including me in your family list! We seem to have enough in common to be cousins 😉

    Hang in there, act locally (mini me) and try to learn but not be affected by the dysfunction above (yes, easy to understand and impossible to follow)


    • 2. becelisa  |  August 12, 2011 at 9:10 am

      sometimes i do want to know more but then i worry what i’ll find. almost safer to just go forward and break the pattern of dysfunction. or am i just adding to it?

      so, i wonder if you were there. at that family reunion i went to.

  • 3. kitkat1126  |  August 10, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Wow, your family history is fascinating and an insight into you. Thanks for sharing.

    It’s funny, it’s been so ingrained in me that family is so important and valuable and they should always come first. Maybe it’s the half Italian in me that says “blood is thicker than water”. That even when they are selfish, mistreat you, or aren’t there when they should be – you should still be sticking with them – just because they are family.

    But truthfully, so many friends or other people form bonds far deeper than the blood relationship. I think back to not just the big events in my life, but the daily support, and it’s a mix of family and friends. Those friends are family now too, blood or not. 

    • 4. becelisa  |  August 12, 2011 at 9:18 am

      sometimes i wish i did see family that way. but i guess i haven’t even really been given the chance to do. thankfully i have some amazing friends who i know will always be there for me.

  • 5. red  |  August 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    woah is right! You cant choose your birth family, but you sure as heck can choose who you consider to be family. Honored to be there for you, as I know you would be there for me! xoxo

    • 6. becelisa  |  August 12, 2011 at 9:13 am

      xoxo love you!

  • 7. Barista  |  August 12, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I’m so glad you shared this. What a lot to deal with at such a young age…you should technically be super fucked up now.

    I love my family, but I moved so far away so long ago that I’ve very much disconnected. Not because of anything other than getting caught up in my own life. I feel guilty about it at times. But as adults we get to choose the people who are closest to us and I don’t think that I should have to fake relationships with people I wouldn’t choose in every day life just because they’re a cousin or an uncle I don’t know any better than the neighbor down the street. My therapist drilled that into me and I think he was right.

    • 8. becelisa  |  August 12, 2011 at 9:14 am

      ha! sometimes i think i AM super fucked up. but then i look at my daughter and know i’m doing something right.

  • 9. kitkat1126  |  August 26, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    just checking in since it’s been a bit since your last post. hope you’re enjoying the last few days of summer with Sab, swims (or runs if the calf is better?) and the Hunter 🙂

    • 10. becelisa  |  August 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      awww. thanks for checking on me 🙂 it’s been a crazy last couple of weeks and i have a few half-written posts that i simply haven’t had time to finish but at this point they are all out dated! but i should have time to catch up on life this weekend!


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