Monday, October 01, 2007

orphan girl

Warning... way personal, family truth stuff here (and it's boring, believe me)

Today, October 1st, is my one and only brother's 43rd birthday. I would call him, as he usually does on my birthday, but I really don't know how to contact him. He's in Singapore, on his third deployment there from his employer. I didn't get any contact info from him before he left; apparently it was not on his list of priorities. I called my sister in law tonight and left a message, trying to get a phone number or an email or something, but I would be amazed if she called back. We're THAT close. (Sarcasm noted?) UPDATE- she passed the message along to him. All is well.

My mother passed away almost two years ago from cancer. (Has it been that long?) My mom was my main contact with the family, although we were never as close as I would have liked to have been. My dad, bless his heart, has all the social skills of Rain Man, with whom I think he shares some neurological similarities. He can't handle our family visiting for more than an hour or so. If that.On my mom's side, I have my 88 year old grandma, who still thinks I'm in first grade or so. And that no emotions but happiness should ever be shown. And my mom's brothers, who I'm not really close to. Which is hard, because my mom's brother John now owns my grandparents' lake place, where I practically grew up on weekends. Part of my soul lives there. I have been there once this summer. Just once. I feel like part of me belongs at the place, owns the place, and they invite me once a year. I could be closer to my uncle LeRoy, who went to the college I went to and was almost a hippie; he joined the Peace Corps after graduation in 1972 and served in South America. He lived with our family for about a year after he came back. Now he drives a new Mercedes every year. Go figure.

On my dad's side, I have an aunt in the Washington DC area, an uncle in the Bronx, and a couple second cousins in the Twin Cities and Arizona who I haven't talked to for years. And a couple first cousins I've hardly ever met.

Old high school friends? The two I had, we lost touch years ago. I really don't think I have anything in common with the suburban masses I graduated with, anyway.

College friends? I was too damn weird, to uncommitted to any one social group. Outsider. I finally started making friends in graduate school, but it was too late.

What I'm saying is, I really wish I had a family. You know how many calls we get per week from friends or family? Zero, except for the calls from The Hermit's old duck hunting buddy. And I wish I had friends. You're it. My blogging buddies. I love every one of you. Hope I'm not putting too much pressure on you that way.

So this is my pathetic life, revealed. Ah well, I think maybe sometimes I'm all the better for being a nature hermit. Sometimes nature is the best company. Sigh.

*****this post has now been edited, out of respect for certain family members who might check in see what the news is from my neck of the woods. :)


Sue said...

I know how you feel abut the lack of meaningful family. Mine isn't quite as uncommunicative as yours, but still, we hardly ever talk. There are times when this is a good thing, but it does feel isolated at times.

Madcap said...

Hi Deb,

Well, you know I can hear you on this one. I don't have much to add to that because there's really nothing to say, but I'm sure glad to be part of your virtual family. Come play the haiku game.


Deb said...

Sue- Thank you. I was really feeling uncomfortable about posting all this, but at least there's someone out there who half knows what I'm talking about!

RuthieJ said...

Hey girlfriend, I hear you. I spent about 5 hours with the closest members of my family on Saturday and it's awful to say, but I was anxious to leave and just drive out into the middle of nature to see some birds and absorb the silence before going home. I sometimes think I'm the one who's weird, but after reading your post, it's nice to know I'm not the only one. Pathetic? I don't think so. I thank God for the experiences that nature provides for us solitary folk and for blogging buddies to share it with!

Deb said...


Sunset brings evening
Small stars twinkle in the sky
Country rests in peace.

Penned when I was about 8 or 9.

Yeah, I guess I know a bit of your family struggles. Although mine are perhaps more innocent than yours, born out of a sort of forgetfulness than any true contempt?

I don't know.

Deb said...

RuthieJ-**trying to blog through tears** Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here! I'm not alone, that's the message I need to hear.

Although from what you posted about your Dad the other day, getting the Red Cross award and all that, our Dads are way different.

arcolaura said...

Just today I was thinking about friends I haven't seen for awhile, and how I don't feel a big urge to see them. I think my world view has been shifting and I fear I would find their happy liberal churchy optimism and anti-this, anti-that politics a bit much. But I haven't been finding new friends, except online friends like you. Is it risky to let one's world shrink and stretch thin like this?

I've been getting closer to my folks over the last while, and I'm grateful for that.

I sleep at my sister's house sometimes, but the conversation is stilted. I always feel like she's trying to fix me, and I'm always biting back the urge to try to fix her.

My brother - well, I chatted on the street the other day with a guy who got out of jail recently, and he asked if my brother is still alive. I hadn't heard otherwise, but that's about as much as I know.

Grandparents - all gone; aunts and uncles - all distant, one way or another.

So, although I count myself very lucky in some ways, I hear ya. And I don't feel pressured at all, just glad we blogging buddies can be here for each other.

Lynne said...

I hear you Deb, and I feel I'm in the same boat. I've been quite introspective lately, partly the season change and partly turning 50. I felt odd that I counted most of my friends as you folks I've "met" blogging. I feel best understood by you. I feel most accepted by you. I understand the need for family connections but find mine pimarily in my immediate family (Art and the kids). I feel a stronger connection to the natural worlds than to my brothers. (I don't think I've said that aloud before). I'm honored and delighted to be counted among your friends. I CAN NOT WAIT to go birding with you on Saturday! I hope you'll still be able to have lunch afterwards. Think of a place!

Denise said...

Please know that you are in no way atypical. Everyone I know, including myself, has a dysfunctional family. In fact, if your family is NOT dsyfunctional there may be something amiss!

As we are your friends, so also you are ours. Something in this vast interenet has drawn us together to share with and care about each other.

Carolyn H said...

My family has never been able to fill my emotional voids in the ways that my friends can. I think that's because emotional ties are tighter when you also share common worldviews. My nature blogging friends share many of my views. It's a shame we can only share virtual space more than we can share physical space, but it's important to me to know that others share the same love I have for the natural world.

barefoot gardener said...


Family stinks...When you got 'em in spades, all you can do is crank about 'em, and when you don't have them, you really miss it.

I would be honored to be considered part of your 'net family. I already count you as part of mine. My dad actually remembers your name, I talk about you so much! Keep in mind this is a big thing, because he usually can't remember mine or my mom's.

I know that, while being a nature hermit is great for the most part, sometimes it can be a little lonely. Just remember that we (your 'net family) are there with you in spirit, and never further away than an internet connection.

I'll be thinking of you....

momadness said...

Awww..I wish we lived in the same neck of the woods so we could visit in person. I think we would have some great shared interests, conversation and fun!

Deb said...

Lynne- From the moment we met, I sensed a deep connection. I think blogging is a gift, to connect people like ourselves. I'm looking forward to Saturday too! I'll see if we have a copy of the Reader lying always lists the best restaurants.

Denise-I guess that's true. Dysfunction is the normal!

Carolyn H- You know, I share that same kind of feeling, that people I have "met" through blogging share more of the same thoughts I do than most of the locals. Or family. I'm a black sheep. :)

Barefoot Gardener- You are definitely part of my Net family, a woman I look forward to hearing from ! And yes, being a nature hermit is a lonesome prospective.
I stocked walleyes in Green Lake today. It's that time of year at work. :)

Deb said...

Momadness- yes, I think we could have a lot to talk about! :)

Deb said...

Update- My brother called me tonight! Actually 8:30 AM his time, a day later. We had as good of a talk as could be had, half a world away. It turns out he has started a blog, and I gave him my blog address. Family healing.

LauraHinNJ said...

Deb: You know what? I wrote a whole blog post and then deleted it about this same idea about a week ago. What is it that makes a family and then holds it together? My idea is that it's the older folks - our grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles - but once they're gone it seems very easy for the siblings or cousins to drift apart, you know? And I often wonder if it's worth the effort to find something in common and spend time together.

I LOVE my brothers, but I hardly miss seeing them. When we do get together we laugh so much and have such fun, but that's enough - I would hate to have to put up with them everyday! I did that for enough years growing up!

I think maybe the most important thing is to have some group of people that you can count as family on a daily basis - whether it be coworkers or blog friends or just your DH - the connection and shared values is what matters.

Deb said...

LauraHinNJ-You have really hit on something there. I think it makes a big difference when the older ones leave us; when my grandpa died, my grandma's social world got smaller, and we no longer had the huge family gatherings. My mom was probably the glue that connected me with the rest of the extended family, and with the immediate family. It seems so much harder to get together now; with my brother overseas, I don't really know what Christmas will be like, except I really want to stay home and be with my kids. and bunnies. :)

Floridacracker said...

I'm in just the opposite situation with many close extended and immediate family connections, so I know what you're missing, and I wish you had some of that, but it seems to me you and the hermit are breaking that cycle with your kids.
I can see a day when your home is their refuge and place to come home to for family visits.
And of course they'll bring their kids to enjoy the pond, the critters, the woods.
I see all that.

And I'm proud and humbled to be your blogging bud.

Oh, and we with family don't consider that disfunctional, although we do use the term "curiously unusual" when talking about cousin Bruce.

Deb said...

FC- you always find a way to crack me up just when I need it. Yeah, my dream is a nice big family coming to get some of Grandma's homemade salsa, or chokecherry jelly, or whatever's on the big, extended table. And to have a good family music jam afterwards.

Glad to be your blogging bud too. Especially considering your slow connection, to think that you spend that precious time here...I think this is a great virtual community!

I must be "cousin Bruce" in my family. :)

Mike Conover said...

Hi Sis:

From your overseas brother. I am blown away by the pain and anger you expressed in this posting. Obviously I knew all of this at some level, but to see it all written out in one place still took me aback. Not sure what to do about it. With Mom's death, much of the glue that held us all together passed as well. And Grandma (at 88?) cannot be the matriarch as she was before. It's up to us. You and I. Dad will never be nurturing, and I know the strained relationships with our uncles. So let's stay in touch. Its far cheaper for me to call you, so that is what I will do. I have a new Singapore blog...kinda boring/impersonal after all this. Congrats on the banjo purchase!