The globe is always spinning and today we stop off in India.
SECRET TO HAPPINESS: Appreciate the gift of family
TRADITION: Raksha Bandhan
DATE : Full moon day in the Hindu month of Shraven ( mid July- August)
CELEBRATED: in India
This might sound like a bit of a contradictory post on how to find happiness but happiness is not about throwing yourself onto a bed of roses, as aesthetically pleasing an image that that conjures.
Family is a bit of a broad topic.
I should know! I have two large families on both sides. I have a half-sister and step sister who I don’t have a strong relationship with. They both lives in South Africa, I live in the U.K. and well so much time has gone by.
My Dad and his wife and, my two nieces whom I don’t know, live there too. My Dad turned his back on me a long time ago.
From the age of 7, I knew that I did not take any priority in his life. It was the same for my step sister. When my Dad remarried to my stepmother -30 odd years ago – they made some pact that the past is the past and for their own happiness; they would forget about everyone and everything to start afresh ,build a new family and be happy.
I get this.
There is is that old saying : ‘we can’t choose our family’.
My Nan on my Dad’s side promptly reminded me of this yesterday.
I’ve always thought no matter how much my Dad’s side of the family, in all their numbers, hate my Mom’s side,(now than I am an adult they have stopped pretending to like me and actively shun me too) in all of this: I learned that the bond I have with my Nan could never be broken.
She looked after me from the age of 8-15 years . My Mom was ill and in hospital for many years. My Dad and Nan (mainly when she drank) and my step mother always put my mother down. It has taken a long time but me and my Mom have dealt with the past and have a remarkable relationship now.
Yes, we all have strong personalties in our families that clash. That is a given. Who else knows us so well than the people from past? the people we grew up with?
The thing is that not all of us were our real selves when in our past. Drugs and illness may have hid our personalities.
Neglect -physical and emotional can also make a person very confused.
I don’t blame my upbringing for my decisions in the past but I do think it influenced my actions to a degree.
Ultimately, we choose our own path. There are laws that decide 18, 21 or 25 years is the time span long enough to learn and be accountable for our actions. Morally, this may not be something I agree with completely.
I do feel that the adults in our lives (usually family)are our teachers. I’ve been taught good and bad things (in a variety of contexts) from the role models in my life or lack of them. Their absence can also make an impact on how we decipher our way into the world.
Where we decide is our place in the world.
In India, an annual celebration takes place to honour the relationship of brothers and sister- I quite like the English translation of ‘Raksha Bandhan’- ‘ the bond of protection’.
On this day, brothers and sisters come together and celebrate their blood connection and take the time to appreciate one another. The tradition is: that each brother is made what is called a ‘rhaki’- a bracelet made out of cotton or silk which is tied on the right wrist of every brother- a symbol -of ‘affection’, love’ and ‘protection of love’.
Sisters a given beautiful gifts and brothers bless their sisters and promise to protect their sisters fro the up coming year ahead.
This tradition starts from childhood.
Not everyone has a brother or sister,so other family come from all four globes of the world to unite and keep the tradition up and honour it.
‘Friends come and go’ -we say, but family is always connected to us by blood.
Here’s the the contradictory part of the post.
For most of my life I know that my Nan has always had my back. I know that she is the person who taught me to keep in contact with my own sister and family. I learnt by experience, if we fought, nothing would break the love and bond we have.
I had to make a tough decision yesterday.
A lesson I possibly learnt from my own fathers absence.
I’m having struggles with my own illness. I am constantly having to fight to have time to be with my Nan
Her family get jealous by any time we spend together. They don’t understand why or how my Mom and Nan can still have a strong bond and relationship because my Mom is the the ex-wife.
They don’t understand.
In all truth, they may be called ignorant.
My Mom and I have been ill for many years and have been ostracised for this.
We are in a better place these days.
My Nan went on holiday to see my Dad and sister and my nieces in November for three months in 2015. In that time,my Mom,my partner and I have worked together in harmony to make sure our wedding day will be unforgettable.
My Nan has a strong personality. This usually reveals the trait of one who needs to control. Control, unfortunately, brings out the worst in people.
I know this from my own past experiences in trying to orchestrate everything and everybody in my life.
I was manipulative – I had to be to get what I wanted!
My Nan is no different from others who seek to control – in her tactics- to get her way.
My Nan is a good woman- with flaws. The biggest is making me feel guilty for everything.
Yes, she looked after my daughter for 16 months while social services were in my life. I got rid of the toxic people in my life, I bucked up my ideas and fought and I proved that I am a good a enough mother (to social services, family, judges – and the whole unwanted entourage that came with socials services)
I have done my time.
I don’t know how many times I can say I am thankful to my Nan, how many gifts I can buy her.
I do know that I won’t make to feel indebted to her for the rest of my life.
She looked after me too. She has looked after many of her families children over the years.
Always feeling used, under-appreciated by every parent of whichever child she was caring for. Be it a few hours or a few years.
This doesn’t come across as a happy post but it is. I know it is a long post. Please try to bear with me.
My Nan has been back from South Africa for less than two weeks and harmony has gone out the window. I don’t think she can get her head around the fact that we have managed to sort our wedding with my ‘weak’ ‘fragile minded’ mothers help. It feels like, to me and my partner, that all we have received is little digs. Small, but enough to make an impact.
I had to make the decision to leave her with her family.
I deserve happiness.
We all do.
I’m not willing to be drawn into parlour games:
Comparisons of how well off and how much better my Dad’s side of the family is.
how she has to go on another holiday to get over the time she had in South Africa.
A lot of negatives were said.
I love her. No buts.
I do also have to put my happiness and my daughters and my partner and my Mom’s happiness before hers.
She has a lot of support from her family. Well, she does until she has had a fight with them. Sound familiar?
Thing is I’m fed up of it.
Last night I was so upset and drained, I couldn’t do anything I enjoy doing like being with my family, reading, blogging, reading blogs
I want a peaceful life as possible.
I will not allow the past to repeat itself with certain ways in how certain family members made an impression on me. I will gladly take responsibility for anything good and bad that happens while I parent my child and any children we have.
There will be no playing one of the other.
“DAISY! (you cry) WHERE IS ALL THE HAPPINESS IN THIS POST?”
Please bear with me, I have a message and a task – one I need to challenge myself to do too.
Can you think of something special you used to do with someone in your family?
My Nan and I devour books and love literature and writing. She inspired me to write and pushed me to develop any hidden talent. This post wouldn’t be here- crystallised, if it weren’t for her rooting for me over the years.
Is there some kind of meaningful ritual you could create to celebrate and strengthen your unique bond?
I would love to make it a regular occasion to got to the theatre with my Nan or join a book /writing club together with her.
“HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THIS DAISY? YOU HAVE REJECTED YOUR NAN IN FAVOUR OF YOUR OWN HAPPINESS?”
True, for the next 12 weeks I need peace and harmony.
Like I said before, friends may come and go, our family are always connected to us.
Time to put my big boots on.
MESSAGE: Never forget the safe haven your family members created – no matter how flimsy and dysfunctional. They were doing what they could with the best resources they had to navigate their own path.
Some of my happiest memories are those with my Nan.
Never forget that family can be the source of some of life’s happiest moments. Relationships do break down but I have a strong bond with my Nan and in time I hope we can reconnect.
I was going to attempt to make amends after the wedding.
No, today. I will make amends. She will take my daughter to ballet and tap as she does most weeks and we will all meet up afterwards and go and sort out the wedding cake as planned,
I need peace and harmony for the next 12 weeks. It doesn’t mean I love her any less. Last nights decision was made because I only know what is best for that moment. I have not closed the door on any of my family for good.
Today I make amends. Life is too short. Always try and keep a small space reserved in your heart for wiser times in your life and you will find peace and happiness.
Posted on 2016-03-08, in INSPIRED BY MY MUSE, WRITE TO RECOVER and tagged Beliefs, Culture & identity, Emotions, Family matters, Gratitude, Relationships, The art of Happiness, traditions. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.