What is it like to have a whole family?

What is it like to have a whole family?

What is it like to have a whole family? One where you talk with your siblings, whether or not they and you remain on the same political spectrum? One where the parents love unconditionally, even if they think you (or you think they) are full of shit?

Maybe it's hormones. Maybe it's Maybeline. Maybe it's the weather. Maybe it's the shortening days. Or maybe it's because I finished retiling the bathroom and now I don't have an all-consuming project consuming the all of me. But right now, I think I'm back to grieving the loss of a family after I thought I'd finally improved.

Let me preface this with this: I am glad I am in no-contact with the toxic members of my family, and I have no plans to reconnect with said toxic members until they are ready. Even then, it'll take a long time for them to re-earn my trust.

Yet, I still love them. And I keep wondering--what if there was no narcissism to drive a wedge in the family? What if there was no splitting of black vs white, and my dad loved unconditionally? What if my mom was not so weak? What if there was nothing except our own personalities that caused rivalries between us siblings?

The could-have-beens is particularly strong right now.

I could have sworn I saw a doppelganger of my brother on the sidewalk the other day, except he had more hair on his head, a beard, and was his pre-marriage, pre-baby weight. I remembered how, when we both were little and I just had eye surgery for lazy eye, he asked, "Why is Holly crying blood?" I remember crouching down to give him a boost so he could look out the back window to see dad coming back from work. He looked out for me, and I for him.

It could have carried over into our adult lives.

I saw a girl in a restaurant who looked so much like one of my sisters, especially with the long blond hair. She was giving a big bear hug to a younger sister, picking her up off the ground. My youngest sister...we could be getting ice cream together and bitching (erm, commiserating) about our stupid hormones and cycles.

My younger brothers. We could have had a lot of fun poking fun at the awful Transformers 3 movie while also taking in all the explosions. I can just imagine how cool they would have thought it was that my apartment building got blown up.

My mom. We could be talking about our shared DIY prowess, and I could be asking her how to repurpose curtains, cutting it down to a smaller size, instead of procrastinating on said project.

And my dad's rare, unfettered days where he was stable. The ultimate could-have-been. If he was healthier mentally, then none of this would have happened.

It could have been. But instead, I feel like a continual outsider in a world full of families. What is it like to have a whole family?

It could have been.

Fuck it all.

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  • Oh, Holly. I wish the family that you were born with was whole and stable. Since that seems improbable I hope that you can find a family of your choosing who will love, respect, and appreciate you. (I hope that ChicagoNow does that at least a little bit.)

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