Every tree has roots that hold them to a place in the dirt. Ever tree has branches or off shoots that showcase buds that turn into leaves.
We often refer to our families of origin as our family tree with branches of members and leaves that off shoot and come and go, change shape and color, and re-budding time and time again. As we grow up and begin to grow our own family, we begin to plant our own set of roots and those roots begin to burrow onto our fiber and our being. They hold us to the place, time and people that make up our family. Throughout my life my family has grown and morphed, by this I mean, my family was sometimes made up more of close friends and their families, other times my extend family of origin and then changing again to my family nucleus made up of my husband, two sons and two dogs.
The nucleus has also included close friends as they have come in and out of our lives over the many years we have been together but nonetheless our party of four plus two fur babies has been the constant for a very long time now making up our immediate family tree trunk and branches.
Our roots run deep and our trunk although slightly crooked stands tall nonetheless. Time and awareness can make us either starve the tree of water, prune it too far or neglect it in other ways. Or you can water, fertilizer and prune the tree so that it flourishes.
In my case I have waffled on feeding and watering our family tree and at other times starving it causing the trunk to slant and roots to shrivel and loss grip on the earth and place that holds the tree in place.
As the years have gone by and so many things has changed one thing has remained and progressed that has caused the neglect to the tree. The drinking and havoc it has caused. Although the drinking ramped up there were other things under the soil that kept starving the roots. The resentment, the depression and the growing belief that the love was gone.
I can’t say the exact point in time the love seemed to slip away or exactly why. Perhaps we were never meant to be in the first place but just never took the space and time to examine that. I know I play a big part in that ambivalence as I have for the vast majority of my adult life. Always looking for the person who would sweep me up and be the one. Always moving too fast and never really knowing who I was or what I wanted.
But in this family tree there really was not an option I felt for walking away or moving away like I had done so many times before. This time there were other people involved, my boys who so badly needed a sturdy tree that could help them change, evolve and grow so they could be the strong branches and the allow their leaves to continue to bud, grow, change and repeat.
When we make choices to hide or dissolve into our bad habits we leave very little space for those we love or who love us and need us. I think about my actions, distance and numbness everyday. I am defiant as a mother due to my own choices and the circumstances I have put myself in. When the roots don’t hold you or your family to the ground you can falter, making your responses or lack there of worse creating even more distance between you and the ones you love.
So this where I have the choice to open up for my children and keep the other parts of my sorrow and loveless marriage out of the picture. Rise up and be present for my family or at least part of it. There is no real choice to uproot the tree right now as it would devastate the branches and leaves forever. Instead I need to look inside and be stronger, bring more clarity and peace to my home and not drink. Remove the fog, the fuzzy head and shame just be real and be there for my boys. I can take care of the rest later when it is safe to uproot the tree without damaging the branches and the leaves.
I share this here because I don’t want to falter, I will come back when it is tough and read these words so I know to stay the course and remember the to feed, fertilize and water my family tree. After all it is a family tree, and my family deserves more and better from me.
~K from the Hill Country