Holidays & Dysfunction.

NOTE: I drafted this post the day after Easter and never really got around to actually posting it until now, so don’t mind the dates and whatnot.

Happy Easter! I hope everyone had a good Easter. Better than mine at least. To be fair, it wasn’t entirely bad. It could have been worse. I know I should be thankful that I was able to spend the day with my family. A lot of people don’t have that luxury. I can’t help but think of little Lena who had to spend the day in the hospital, having had her second round of chemo a few days ago. It is just not fair. She’s 4 years old. She should have been home with her brother and sisters, waking up excited for what the Easter Bunny brought her. Instead she and so many other children had to spend the day in a hospital, their little bodies filled with a horrible disease that they’re too young to even know about. I know that it could be much worse. Brandi, Lena’s mother, began keeping this online journal shortly after Lena was diagnosed. She updates it pretty regularly, so at least we are able to know what is going on and how Lena is doing.

In one of her earlier posts, she mentioned another family who had a child with the same kind of cancer that Lena has. A little 2 yr old girl. Her name was Layla Marsh. Tragically, Layla lost her battle with the disease and passed away the day before Lena was diagnosed. Her parents are in the process of starting a foundation for cancer research in Layla’s honor. When I went to the website and read the journal posts from her parents, I just sat there and cried. It didn’t matter that this little girl was an absolute stranger that I had never met. Seeing her picture and reading her story and how she suffered–it broke my heart. I cried for her parents and the loss that no one should ever have to face. I cried for the beautiful little angel who will never have the chance to grow up. She was just a baby. Why does this happen to innocent children. To anyone. It’s not fair… I think its worse with holidays. It makes you think about what really matters. Friends. Family.

I love my family. Truly, I do. They just make it really hard sometimes. No family is perfect and mine is no exception. When I say that we are dysfunctional, I’m not exaggerating. We love just as hard as we fight. Sometimes that isn’t always a good thing. It can get pretty intense. Especially on the holidays when we are all together. Growing up, I remember so many times when things got out of control. Sometimes the cops have to be called. Even though I’m used to it, I know it shouldnt be this way. Why can’t we just be a normal family? Just once I wish we could all get along and not fight. Is that really too much to ask for? The day started off okay. I went to my grandmother’s early so I could be there when my nieces woke up and went downstairs to see what the Easter Bunny had brought. They made out like bandits lol. We probably shouldn’t spoil them so much, but its hard not to. They are little girls. These are the memories they are going to look back on and remember. Happy memories. That’s all that matters. It didn’t matter that it was 6 in the morning or that I was going on no sleep. It was worth seeing their faces light up. They are the sweetest little things. Angelina was thrilled about her pink guitar she’s been wanting because she just idolizes Taylor Swift. Cute. And little Emma–she loved it all. Despite all she got, she was happy the most just to find her juicy fruit gum and Nerds. That kid is something else. Justin, my soon-to-be brother-in-law went and made the powder “bunny footprints” on the floor which thrilled them the most I think. Its moments like those that make my day. I wish they could stay little forever. But I know that it wont be long before they stop believing in the easter bunny or santa. They are going to grow up and realize how cruel the world really can be. I look at them and I want to tell myself that they are amazing little girls and that they will be fine. But you never really know.

Your whole life can change in an instant. I’ve never really understood just how much until now, with all that has happened and continues to happen. But for right now I’m going to live in the moment. It’s all anyone can do. I’m going to be thankful that I’m able to be a part of their magical moments they will remember forever, and that they are happy and healthy. It was a fun morning, for the most part. I got to act like a kid again for a few minutes when we ran around the yard searching for easter eggs and had egg races. I rarely get to just let go and have fun these days. It was refreshing. The past few years havent been the easiest, particularly the past year. Its ironic. When we are little, we can’t wait to grow up. And when we do, we’d give anything to be kids again. It makes no sense. I’d give anything to be a little girl again, to be innocent and ignorant of the true, harsh reality of what the world really is like. But I’m not a kid anymore. I’m 22 years old, almost 23. I have rent and bills to pay. I have tough decisions to make. Its hard, being out on your own. Naturally, it has its perks. I have my own apartment. It’s not much, but its mine. Home is always going to be the house I grew up in, but that’s okay. I love the freedom of having my own place. As much as I love the chaos of always having my nieces around, its nice to have peace and quiet when I want it. I like having my privacy and the freedom to live on my terms. Having my own apartment is what’s kept me sane this past year. At times, it was pure hell. I can’t count the number of times I’ve doubted whether I would wake it through. Luckily, I have. It’s nice to have a place where you can just cry or yell or vent your frustrations when you need to… Anyways, back to easter. It was fine until my sister, Stephanie, brought up the topic of her wedding that is taking place in July. Her, our mother, and our grandmother were discussing the seating arrangement at the reception. It’s complicated because like is usually the case, not everyone is going to get along with each other. That’s just the way it is. So to keep everyone happy and satisfied, you need to work things around a little. But its impossible to please everyone so there’s bound to be a little drama. In this situation specifically, it’s a little more tricky, mainly having to do with my mother and father. They never married, in part because of interference from certain family members. They split up for good when I was a few years old. He wasn’t around much when we were little, not that I remember anyways. If he came around once a year, that was something in and of itself. Eventually he stopped doing even that. Years passed without so much as a phone call or birthday card. Meanwhile, my mother got married to and divorced from a guy who was a jerk and could barely stand us kids. She has a knack for finding losers. And she usually put them above us. That’s mainly why she and I do not have a close, mother/daughter relationship. My father ended up moving out-of-state. He’s been married for more than 16 years now. We even have a half-brother. I haven’t even met his wife or my brother which sounds crazy, but its true. Growing up, we were told so many stories about my father. In essence, we were basically brainwashed to believe he was this bad guy. It wasnt until I was 16 or so that I finally heard his side of it. Like most teenagers in my situation, I wanted answers. So I contacted him. Since then he and I have stayed in touch. I felt that it was my decision whether or not I wanted to have a relationship with my father. I’m glad that I did. I’ve learned a lot of hard truths. A lot of what we had been told was a lie. That hurt. He’s not a bad guy. I’m not saying that he was a saint or that some of what they said wasnt true, but the way I see it is that it’s in the past. There’s no point in rehashing everything. We aren’t super close or anything and we won’t ever be. I mean, he wasn’t around for 16 years. That’s a lot that he missed and can never get back. I don’t hate or resent him for that, but it’s not something that I can just forget either.

Anyway, Im the only one of us kids who has wanted to have anything to do with him. My brother completely hates him and my sister held a grudge ever since he failed to show up at her high school graduation that she had invited him to, understandably so. It wasnt until this past year that she’s come around a little. He came to NY, the first time I had seen him in like 7 years or so. He and my sister managed to clear the air a bit. She has decided to give him a second chance. Basically, she is inviting him to her wedding. If he doesn’t show up, she is never going to speak to him again. He promised that he will be there so I really hope he keeps his word. So obviously he would bring his wife along if he does come. So my sister has laid down some guidelines. She doesn’t want problems, so she told my mother that she didn’t want her causing any trouble with them. It’s a legitimate concern. Even after all this time, my mother just won’t let the past go. She rarely has anything civil to say about him. So what got things going is that my sister doesn’t want my mother’s current boyfriend at the wedding. I don’t blame her. I cannot stand the guy. He is a total jerk. He’s admitted to cheating and he treats my mother like dirt. He’s managed to insult almost every member of my family, to our faces at that. He rude and he thinks he can say whatever he wants to anyone. And my mother puts up with it. So much for loyalty. But again, that is my mother. In her world, a man can do no wrong. Don’t ask me why, but she thinks the sun rises and sets on them. Trust me, it’s sickening. So to cause trouble she told my sister than if my father could bring his wife to the wedding, then she was bringing her boyfriend. Either that or she won’t go to the wedding at all. Naturally, things got heated. My sister wants her there, and I get it, I really do. But the way I see it, is that if my mother can’t put her own daughter first for once on her wedding day, then she will just have to face the consequences. Which means losing a daughter because my sister will never speak to her again if she isn’t at the wedding. She just wants to cause trouble with my father and his wife, that’s all. It doesn’t have a thing to do with her actually wanting the guy there. She can barely stand the guy herself. So yeah. It’s in negotiations now so we will just have to wait and see. Wonderful…



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