Realise Blood Isn’t Thicker Than Water

Am I right in saying that our families are our biggest challenge, universally? No matter how great things are going in our lives generally, it seems insignificant if something happens to one of those we love or, conversely, if they hurt us in some way, it affects us far more deeply than if it were anybody else. They can drive us insane and the phrase ‘You can choose your friends but can’t choose your family’ is strikingly apt at times.

My family is very small. My Mum’s parents only had her, and my Dad’s parents had a girl and a boy but my Dad isn’t close to his sister. We have one set of cousins and that is it. There aren’t mad aunties and long-lost cousins flying around the place. There’s just us. At times I wish I had a bigger family. People that I was connected to biologically dotted around the world, around the country, or even nearby that I could almost automatically have a bond with. However, having a small family I have learnt that blood isn’t always thicker than water. My Mum’s mother, my grandmother, is a prime example of that.

She may have created my Mum, and in her own funny way loved her as a child, but having grown up seeing her behaviour as a part of my family I realise that sometimes you don’t have to be close to those that you are related to. It hits me that that fact is terribly sad but true. My grandmother talks to me from one six months to the next and isn’t interested in my life when I do finally catch up with her. I hear about her ailments, her illnesses and her problems (of which, thankfully, she has none she just seems to enjoy spending time at the doctors). I always had romantic visions as a child, of writing letters to my grandparents and telling them all my funniest stories, however it hasn’t quite worked out that way. For my Mum, she has replaced her mother with a surrogate mum almost, a wonderful lady we have nicknamed Mrs Doubtfire. It still hurts me when I see her cry, though. When my Mum is feeling down or in pain, all she wants is her Mum there. She is still alive, but she isn’t a ‘Mum’. She puts her down, criticizes what she does and never tells her how proud she is of all that my Mum has achieved. And because of that, I have a real problem getting close to her. I can’t forgive the woman who isn’t bothered about her daughter or her grandchildren. I’ve realised that although it’s hard to admit, blood isn’t always thicker than water and that’s especially poignant in my Mum’s situation who has a wonderful relationship with Mrs D. It still gets to her though. The sadness she feels over her non-existent relationship with her mother still eats away at her from time to time. Family. Who’d have ’em.