Joe S. is a single father from the Chicago area who unexpectedly lost the mother of his child to drug addiction. This blog post chronicles his experience with raising a female child alone in the 21st century.
The drunken racist uncle, the deadbeat brother & the criminal cousins; let’s face it, we all have some rotten fruit in our family trees. We are all related to some people we would rather not admit are part of our DNA. Some of those people are easy to spot, some not so much.
What about the siblings who, despite having little life experience, are in a constant critical state of your life?
What about the judgmental aunts and uncles, or the suspect influences or your kids?
Every parent has reached a crossroads like this and, if you haven’t yet, you will. There are relationships that you have with certain family members that you have to reevaluate once you have kids, because now that influence sphere they carry affects a bigger radius then just you.
I have a sibling that my daughter doesn't have a strong relationship with, and most likely never will. We haven’t spoken in several years, because he felt it necessary to wade into the mine field of my life when I was struggling not only to be a single parent, but also trying to save the life of someone in the throes of addiction (that was ultimately the end of her life). They never understood what was going on but felt the need to make their opinions known to me loudly. For that, I have all but cut them from my life and have been far happier since.
It does bother me that we aren't close (and that my child isn't close with them) but I wasn't blessed with the luxury of fearlessly staring down my problems. I was in the middle of a battle to save a life and regret none of the decisions I had to make to try to keep everyone alive and safe. I will never be sorry for it either.
My daughter may never get to know her grandfather (on her mother’s side), who is one of the main reasons she doesn’t have a mother in her life today. The toxicity that man possesses has the ability to drain life and happiness from all it touches, something akin to a black hole. You're probably asking why I’m telling you all this.
Don't ever be sorry for making a decision that is in the best interest of your child, EVER. If someone is not of a positive and beneficial influence to you and your child’s lives, they don’t need to be there.
Will that require you making some difficult decisions, cutting ties with some people you considered to be lifers in your world?
Yes, it will. That’s ok, not everyone in your life right now belongs there, not everyone is meant to be a forever influence in your life or your kid’s lives, that's ok. As you grow as a person and a parent you change, not everyone will change with you.
Don't weep for those relationships lost, for they were there at the time destined to be for you to grow, and it may be time for you to move on. Time decides who you meet, faith decides who belongs, and love decides who is right for both you and your child’s world.
Do I miss my sibling?
Do I miss my daughter having a normal relationship with some of her relatives from one side?
But until I'm sure they belong in her life or mine again, there's no place for them (and that’s ok).
As we move forward we must trust the path the universe has laid before us, no matter how much it doesn't make sense (it will eventually).