Home > Family, Love, Personal, Youth > “You don’t do things to ‘the family’ unless you’re Mafia!”

“You don’t do things to ‘the family’ unless you’re Mafia!”

More than a decade ago, I spoke these words in a discussion forced by an older relative.

“Don’t you want to spend time with me, Deborah?”

“Frankly, no. Our only connection is my mom, and you only talk about her with disrespect and anger, which I’m pretty much not interested in.”

“[ rantiness cut ] The things your mom did to the family!”

“You don’t do things to ‘the family’ unless you’re Mafia!”

Shortly after those words were spoken, I stepped away. I was shaking despite my facade of bravery.

Only when I’d gotten an appropriate distance away did I start crying. That’s what I always think of when I urge people to “speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.” I didn’t feel very strong as my friend–nay, sister–Jane hugged me while I wept under trees bordering that parking lot, but my strength is clearer with the distance of years.

Last night I was blind-copied on an email that made me wish the older generations of my family could be family by both blood and choice. But I remember words I wrote a year and a half ago and am comforted by their truth:

It is not, we have all come to learn, blood that makes family. It is, rather, love and the bidirectional willingness to overlook wrongs done in favor of seeing the true heart of a person.

There will only occasionally be moments of wistfulness. By contrast, there will always be gratitude to the family of choice who’ve lifted me through the past years, and will continue to lift me in the years to come.

I am so blessed to be part of this loving family.

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 6/24/15

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