Tuesday, April 1, 2008

We are Family

So, Sunday night Nate was talking about family. This hits me hard. Family has always been - well, foreign to me.

Both my parents came to this country before I was born....my mother with her parents and younger sister, all of whom died before I was born. My father came over with his first wife and daughter (his wife died when my half-sister Victoria was 15). His two brothers and a sister all joined him here - Uncle Costia in Los Angeles, where he was music director for RKO (not far from my dad's work at Columbia), Aunt Nadia taught voice in LA, and Uncle Vladya and Aunt Julia ended up in Pittsburgh, where he headed the symphony orchestra. But close they were not.

My father died when I was two. My mother remarried a man who was a wonderful father to me when I was four.

And then when I was ten, my mother died. I've dealt with the outcomes and emotions from this all my life. Hope Edelman even interviewed me for her book, "Motherless Mothers." If you're a woman, and you lost your mom during the years your personality is still forming, it effects you in profound ways.

Unfortunately, my stepfather didn't deal well with this loss, and drank himself to death in about three years. I ended up in foster care, as an OWNAO (pronounced O-NOW). Orphaned with no adult relatives. Not really true. I had two half-brothers from my mother's first marriage who were both adults, and my half-sister, Victoria. But due to strained relations between my stepfather and all of them, I hadn't seen any of them in years.

We did later reunite - but my brother Tony died in 1991 and my sister in 1994.

When I adopted my wonderful kids, I really had no idea if I knew how to be a mother. I know that lots of women feel this way, but it was almost paralyzing to me. Okay, maybe I could mother them when they are little, but what about after they are 10? I don't even have an example.

But I do.

The women that have mothered me along the way (even though some are younger than I) have taught me so much. And I am surrounded by friends that have become family to me. And God leads me, and comforts me, and loves me.

So maybe I can extend my arms and do some more mothering. I've mothered my stepdaughter Jeni since she was 14 (25 now, and on her own in San Francisco). But maybe there's a Life Group that needs a mother. I'm doing okay with the munchkins. And I still have time and love to mother more.....

Anyone at the Stirring need a good home-cooked meal????


Stirring Kids said...

Wow Annie...thanks for sharing your story. We definitely need to get you in a Life Group. Your story is amazing.

Side note - I sent you an email but I'm canceling the move day tomorrow because the family's parents came into town and loaded up everything so there is nothing left to help with.

KalynRebecca said...

I don't know if we've actually met... I'm Kalyn, I found your blog through the stirring... I just wanted to say this post gave me goosebumps. Thanks for sharing.

KalynRebecca said...

that would be AWESOME, thank you!