Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Rethinking #45 (1 of 2)

45. I love living where I live. That said, I would move back to Eugene in a heartbeat if it was at all feasible.

After spending a weekend in Eugene with my family, I feel I really need to amend this. It's only when I've been away from them for awhile that I start to think it would be preferable--or even possible--to live closer than 100 miles away from them.

A little background is in order here. My parents had one unshakable theory about raising a family. This was that all the children were to be treated absolutely the same. There was never to be even the slightest hint of favoritism toward any one daughter at any time. Both my parents, especially Dad, had suffered through childhoods where one sibling was obviously favored, and they were determined not to make that mistake with their own children. This seems like a sound and laudable child-rearing theory, no? And it is, but it did produce in each of us a desperate desire for individual achievement and recognition. Our adult lives were about shaking off the chains of being anonymous daughters of our parents, and struggling to establish our identities outside and beyond our family. Though the family remained a place of comfort and rest for each of us, its role was to be there for us to go back to if we needed it. It was a wonderful place to visit, but none of us wanted to live there any more.

When my dad became ill, we were forced to "implode" back into the confines of the family. We all believed that we could do what needed to be done, and that we could do it willingly and cheerfully. We were unprepared to learn that we had all grown so far away from the nucleus of the family that we couldn’t go back. Our years of struggling to be individuals had made us ill fit to cope with the responsibilities of Dad’s illness. Suddenly, we were spending our days intensely together and under tremendous stress, and the reality of our incompatibility hit us like a freight train traveling at the speed of the Concord. We cracked. And who was there to lash out at besides…each other?


  1. Hey and Hugs to you. I read both entries and can DEFINITELY relate to the family dynamics of which you speak. I too cannot live in a close proximity to my family. I have tried, but it does not work. I COMPLETELY hate not having a close family connection but sometimes what we want does not always manifest itself. If there is anyway to renew and strengthen your bonds I pray that you find it. If not to heal your family at least to heal yourself. Take care,

  2. After a parent passes on it is hard to know what the family is to be like. My mother passed away last October. I am the only girl I have two older brothers. My mother was definetly the family Matriach. I am struggling to find my place now. Should I take on her role or just be like I am now?. Someone told me Don't try to fill her shoes...go get your own shoes.

  3. The same thing happened to me and my sister. Our parents bent over backwards to make sure that we were treated fairly and evenly, but we're so different, it didn't always have the effect that was intended. We've been asked if we're close. We nod and say yes, we've had maybe 10 fights in 10 years, but at least 6 have been since our mother died and our father got sick.

  4. I understand...My family hated it when I moved away, because they stayed so tightly grouped together. It was as if I was an outcast for moving. It was always my responsibility to go see them, because I was soooooo far away...geez, 120 miles. I don't think they've forgiven me yet. But, I am so glad I did it!