When dad passed away a few weeks ago, I jokingly mentioned to my brother that we were now orphaned. As Chaucer wrote “Some truths, too painful or too likely to provoke, can be spoken only when the listener has been disarmed by laughter.”
If I have successfully disarmed you, here is the deal. I am putting myself up for adoption. Oh, I realize no one wants we older kids, let alone those that have been used and abused so often they look like the end result of a demolition derby. However, everyone needs somebody and with all of the “family values” going around, I am feeling a need to find one. The last one left me disillusioned.
For more years than I am willing to count, I blamed myself while wearing the logo Black Sheep. I thought I was too different or radical for them to cut through the layers of surface emotionality to reach the depths of unconditional love and feeling. Hindsight as they say is 20/20 or just maybe it is the laser surgery I had on one eye that is allowing me to see clearly. It has not been all me all these years.
The last time I was with my mother’s siblings and my 8 cousins, the “close knit Italian family” was in 1994. My mother passed on before her own mother, but when my grandmother passed the warm and fuzzy family portrait turned out to be a charade, perfect for a Showtime drama. Neurosis and egotistic behaviors abound with enough characters to survive a run of five seasons minimum. It is like the Sopranos without the guns.
What prompted all of this was my brother’s suggestion that I return to NJ for the burying of our father’s ashes. With spinning thoughts, I shared my concerns about the family reception. My brother the optimist said it would be like the prodigal son returning. Yes, I responded, but the joys of the prodigal son’s return only lasts as long as an orgasm and is not as much fun.
My trump card was that I no longer had a driver’s license, so would be held hostage without a means of transportation or of escaping once there. The end scenes of Rosemary’s Baby flashed through my mind, surrounded with no escape once in the clutches of the demonic mob.
To further try and persuade me that a Jersey shore jaunt should be on my travel plans, my brother pulled his final card. “You will have to stay in a hotel. My dog bites. But I am not working, so I could drive you around.” My first reaction was if you have time on your hands, train your dog. What happened to “Blood is thicker than water”? We are so different. The dog is just a symptom of something greater, but I have yet to figure out what it is, but it does hurt. We each seem to understand what is emotionally painful to ourselves, but without any comprehension of what are thorns for others.
When I gave it more than a spark of thought, the question was why would I want to see any of these people after all of these years? I have made attempts to reach out. I have sent notes to my aunt and uncles. I have befriended relatives on Facebook hoping to open the lines of communication. All to no avail, not even a note of condolence.
With clear vision and finally coming to the realization that true family are those who you bring into your life to nurture and be nurtured by, I am setting myself free and making myself adoptable. I am already potty trained. I come with papers; they are called university degrees. I can feed and dress myself. It is fortunate that I have a few people in my life who recognize my assets. In addition to Ron, like the Velveteen Rabbit, I just want family, to make me real.