Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Family Life 1974

I'm trying to conjure up those days when I was young, that is, a child. Not as a boy, exactly, but more those odd middle years when you are still part of the family yet also preparing to leave that family, though you don't know it. I grew up in a family of seven. Four boys, one girl, a mother and father. I was in the middle of the kids, birth-wise.

My father has been dead for close to fourteen years now. My mother gone for one and a half. My oldest brother has had heart issues, my second oldest substance abuse ones. My younger sister in no longer young and the youngest, my brother who was the baby of the family though we never called him that or thought along those terms, is also no longer young--that is, they are in their fifties. (Though, believe it or not, fifty can be young, depending on who is doing the counting.)

I have my own family--four of us--though that is starting to splinter a bit, as my kids are both late college-age. I don't mean splinter in a negative way, more in the sense that things move along as they are expected to or are going to whether you like it or not.

No, I was trying to recall my mindset, as well as physical details, from when the family I grew up in was still all together. When we--or at least I--were still dependent upon Father and Mother and had intimate history with fellow siblings. But also an age when we--or I--were on the cusp of leaving that family nest. And, it's kind of hard to do. For me, at least, those were awkward ages, those mid to late teens. I flowered later in life, I guess, or perhaps not, and was such an unhappy boy-becoming-a-young-man that I don't like to think much about those years. And so I didn't, haven't, struggle to at this time. And, in many ways, what's the point?

Does it make me sad? . . . Sure, a little. I guess one thing I think, or thought, as I tried to recall those odd years is that it is hard to believe, right now, where I am and who I am now--I mean NOW!--that that was my reality at the time. My scope of living. I don't think I had much sense of a real future in those days, a sense of what I wanted to accomplish and a belief that I would go out into the world and do it. I think I mainly fantasied about fantasy futures that included fame and adulation and probably a lot of money. And girls, no doubt. Ah, it was sad. Not as sad as losing my parents, but sad in a more epochal way--or do I mean ephemeral way? I'm not sure . . .

But I do remember the days when I was in that group and we--my brothers and sister, my mother and father, the pets, the places, the cars and furniture, friends and neighbors--when we were all together and we were all we had. I do. And that was our reality and I had no inkling of this reality and, yeah, I guess that makes me a little sad to think about it.

I don't know why.