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We all define it differently.  The people we live with, the extended family we see weekly/monthly/annually.  There are those we only see at family reunions.  The ones that only show for a funeral or two because they might get something or because their 3rd cousin was a great play friend as kids.  No longer do I feel like I have a family outside of the 4 walls I live in.  Growing up we had a total of 14 grandkids on my paternal grandfathers side.  So, I had 10 cousins there with 15 kids or so.  On mom’s side I had 2 cousins with 6 kids of their own.  That was “immediate” or close family.

My mom’s mother had 6 brothers so I had more great aunts and uncles than I could count along with their kids.  Family reunions were held at churches at Christmas and a community park in the summer.  We were everywhere.  Not any longer.  I couldn’t tell you the last family reunion I attended.

My father all but destroyed our family dynamic when he walked out on my dying mom.  My older siblings were quicker to forgive but I don’t believe I ever will.  And yes, I know the Bible says it’s a sin.  It also says I shouldn’t touch the skin of a pig-oops no more football or bbq.

My kids have each other.  I pray that they will have kids and husbands and large families.  I’ve got 10 nieces and nephews and a great-nephew and great-niece.  Cannot tell you the last time I saw a single one of them as I don’t fit the “perfect” mold that my siblings somehow derived and came up with.  My kids ask about cousins, talk about aunts and uncles based on what they’ve seen on TV.  My oldest remembers some of her cousins.  Beyond that, nada and that is alright with me.

I am one of those who believes in trying to keep a family together, but when all chances and options are exhausted, like in those Chuck Norris and Rambo movies, screw it; torch the whole flipping village.  Burn that bridge as your ass crosses it and be damned to anyone who tries to come after me.

As the years have gone on, it has proven to be more problem than value to try to co-exist with my immediate family.  Some I’ve not seen in years, others never met.  And that is ok.  The “patriarch” set this shit storm in motion and I don’t care.  When my kids are 18 and out of the house, they can visit them.  And so be it if they want to as long as they don’t intend on moving back in here afterwards.  And for those without siblings and a dysfunctional family like my own, don’t pretend to know what is going on or offer your advice as it only makes you look dumber.

I’m hoping that my kids will love each other and treat each other better than some others I know and have witnessed in my own family and beyond.  Time will only tell.  I’ve got a job to do and that is to start trying to be better than my own father.  It is tough and a rocky road which I am not that great at.  C’est la vie.  My oldest told me last night that I was hated and has really started to run her own mouth lately.  Lucky for her, I don’t have to speak to her.

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