Yesterday we got a picture in the mail from my little nephew. He's such a little darling and I feel blessed that I had the chance to see him after he was born, but wish so much I could see him again. Babies grow so much and change so much, and I would love to be able to hear his giggle and see his smile...but I will be totally happy with the pictures, becasue they do give me an idea how beautiful this little boy is, sitting next to some pumpkins in front of a tree with fall leaves all around him, eyes wide open with an adorable, serious expression on his pink face. He really is a gorgeous little guy!
As I took his picture to frame in my family collage hanging in my entryway, the happiness at seeing his face was replaced with grief. There staring back at me was my other brother with his wife and my other nephew and niece, all with smiling faces. When I see their pictures, all I feel is a deep sadness fill my heart and a longing for some normalcy in our relationship. I was stricken by the memories of the day that picture was taken, and wondered if even then, when we played video games together and had a lunch at Applebee's, if it was all just a facade, and the smiels that show in the picture were really just two-faced people pretending to enjoy our company. As I placed the baby's picture in the frame, I had an urge to rip out the pictures of Travis's family and replace them with pictures of people that I know care about me, my children, my family. Why would I want a picture displyed of people that don't exist in my life? But the truth of the matter is that in my life, these people do exist. They are important to me, I care about them, and I have a lifetime of history to represent good times I have had with them. I don't care that in their shaken world of misunderstanding they have estranged themselves from me. No, I do care, but I don't want to stoop to their level. I want to try and remember the good times and hope for a future filled with more good times in the years to come. I want a relationship with them, I want to see my niece and nephew as they grow up, hear about their lives and be a part. It hurts me so deeply that I have no power, no control over this matter. I have been eliminated by someone that I love deeply, care about more than he will ever know. Why is it that the feelings I have for him, for his family and life, can't be reciprocated? I still can't understand what I have done that makes me so unworthy of their love. And yet, the more I think about the pain they have caused me, the more my grief turns to anger and I feel a hardness begin to creep into my heart. Do I want these people in my life, really? Things that they have said can never be forgotten, but do I have what it takes to be forgiving? I have been accused of abusing my own child, the gift that I love more than my own life. Is there room to forgive, reason to forgive, when people hurt you so deeply? For my own well being I must try to reach a state of forgiveness, come to understand that they are going through some own problems in their lives in order to push so completely away from the people that care about them. It is so hard to understand, and even harder to accept. And I am scared that when the time comes, and I believe there will be a day, that Travis is willing to accept me into his life again, I will have broke free from that need. The longer that this hurt goes on, the more disgust I feel for him. It would be so much easier to clear his pictures of my home, not be reminded every time I want to see my family...but then my children would be stripped of reminders of family that does exist in their hearts, in my heart...it isn't fair. As I replaced the frame back on the wall, with ALL my family still intact, I was not feeling a sense of peace. I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that it hurts.