Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meaningful Relationships Have To Mean Something...Right?

I love my parents. I understand that a lot of people love their parents, but for clarity's sake, I love them the most. I feel like, because they were teen parents and none of their friends had children either, they grew up with me in a way. My dad would play video games with me when he was home from saving the world, and my mom would get me books to read that were above my level and read them with me. They were my parents, they were my friends (to an extent) and they were the only constant I had in my life.

When I got older and my parents' military life slowed down some, they would either send me or we would all go to spend time where we were from. I didn't like it much; everyone there treated me different. I was either treated special, or treated with the littlest respect a child could be rewarded and there was rarely an in-between. My extended family were strangers to me, as I grew up abroad and away from them and that chasm has never been mended. I try with my grandmothers (and my grandfathers who, though very different, speak with the same grunting, lovableness that makes me smile) because I remember and know them, but aunts, uncles, cousins...they all fall to the wayside.

Admittedly I don't make much of an effort with them; my aunts and uncles never seem to make an effort with me (unless my father tells them to) and my cousins and I, though not far in age, are far in wisdom and experience and thus have little to discuss. I wish I could talk to my grandmothers more; I want to know about them and who they were when they were my age. How did they get here in their life? If they could impart only one thing with me, what would it be?

I'm not sure if my lack of enthusiasm with my own family translates in other places. I make friends easily, but find that I don't like keeping most of them as what we initially had in common is sometimes the only thing we have in common. I have a few friendships that I've maintained for years but many that never get out of infancy. I'm always thinking ahead with people; if I see they are drama filled for a majority of the time I'm with them, it's safe to assume they'll be drama filled if we remain friends. Can people change? Sure, but not as rapidly as it would take for me to not get accosted while with them, and therein is the problem. Should I make these relationships knowing that they may never be what I need?

I suppose my parents raised me to be okay alone; I'm an only child with a library that spans nearly three bookshelves, a hunger for knowledge, and great taste in music and movies (not to toot my own horn or anything) and all these things are things I've learned from them. Not to mention I can play a mean console game. Back to the point; I've been okay alone for so long that I suppose I'm used to the loneliness, but the fact still remains that I need a connection with someone. It doesn't have to be romantic (like my best friend keeps telling me is what I want), and it doesn't have to last forever, but it has to enrich me in some way.

Am I too much of a forward thinker? Do all relationships have to mean something to be cultivated? Am I just scared of people and have a latent fear that people will leave due to my military upbringing? Most importantly, is there any way around this?


RB said...

I think the connections with family are difficult to forge if you're on a different wavelength. And it's not so much that you don't want to connect with them, it's just a lot of energy and effort and it's not as if other people are bending over backwards as much as you might.

As far as forging relationships with folks, I think that it really boils down to finding people you can truly connect with on whatever level you're looking to connect on. I think it's a timing thing, a place thing and also a getting out of your comfort zone thing.

I've lived a lot of places over the years and it's always a new process each time I'm trying to craft those interactions. And it can be difficult when you move away, they end and you're starting again because you remember them and wish it could be like it always was.

So to answer your question, no I don't think all relationships have to "mean something" in a long-term significant way to be worth something at the time when you're participating in them. I'd suggest just taking it one day at a time and rather than worry if folks are going to go, just enjoy them for the time they're there. The ones that want to be around will and by opening yourself up to those interactions; even if those aren't the big ones you're looking for, it could give you the possibility of finding something more meaningful.

Squeak Williams said...

I grew up like this also. My parents were teen parents and my siblings and I are different from our extended family and in fact we don't really associate with them.

However, my wife and her family are extremely close and I've kind of latched on to them as my family. I'm closer to them than I am my own family.

You shouldnt worry about this though. Family is only as close as they want to be and you'll probably never really get there, due to the time missed in each other's lives. Don't sweat it.