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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Family Tree

Although I knew that my Dad had an expansive cousin base, he never included us in those relationships. He seemed to have drawn a strong separation between his childhood family (Aunts, Uncles, Cousins etc.) and his own little family. Until last year I always assumed that he kept us out of the family loop because he was embarrassed of us. Even though I never knew them well, I heard enough stories to know that they were highly accomplished and more affluent. In my quest to make sense of the division, I assumed the blame of not somehow measuring up to the family ideals. 

It wasn't until I was caring for my Dad in hospice that I began to realize that the family separation had nothing to do with us. I was right that he was embarrassed, but it turns out that it stemmed from his own feelings of inadequacy. He was constantly trying to measure up to unrealistic ideals that he perceived in his own family. Keeping them on such an imposing pedestal, he never felt "good" enough.

Because my Dad kept such a strong familial separation, I never knew my paternal cousins. It was odd at times, knowing that I had cousins in the same hometown (one with whom I shared a name) but knowing that I couldn't pick them out of a line up. I have come to accept that this was a branch of the family tree that would remain a mystery.

Last week I received a message on LinkedIn which took me by surprise. It was from the cousin with whom I shared a name. I never knew her, but always felt an odd kinship because of our common name. It turns out that she was coming into DC for a meeting and wanted to get together for lunch.  I was stunned.

I had no question that I would meet her, but it took some finagling to get Timmy settled. I ended up taking him to Robby's school. His classmates love playing with him and always teach him a new "trick." Yesterday they proudly taught him how to twerk. (I'll try to get a video before we work on unlearning the skill.)

I had a wonderful lunch with my "no longer a stranger" cousin. It is sad that we didn't know each other growing up because I am fairly sure we would have been friends. Regardless, it is nice to finally have a few sprouts forming on the paternal branch of my family tree.

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