There are some things in life that you will never forget, for example I will never forget the day I called up Vicky and told her about this idea I had for us to start a lifestyle blog. Out of all the ideas/ projects we have talked about this was probably one of the best! Working on this blog together has strengthened us and our friendship in ways we didn’t know it would! This little blog has taken a lot of work, but it has been such a blessing to the both of us! However, the blog is not what I want to talk about in this post; what I want to talk about in this post is family…more specifically, I want to talk about my family in this post.
The idea of getting personal on our blog scares me a little bit; so far we have kept our posts about food, travel, D.I.Y, etc., but we haven’t gotten down and personal with our readers yet. So why have we decided to get personal now? Well, both Vicky and I wanted to share our stories this Valentine’s Day in the hopes that it might reach someone and show them that not every love story is the same. Sometimes love requires more patience, sometimes love requires more forgiveness, and sometimes you need to love someone more than they love you. This is a story of love and how I learned to love my family!
Another day I will never forget is the day I found out my father was leaving us. I, like more and more people these days, come from a split family. My Dad and Mom divorced when I was five and my sister was two. I was only five, so I do not remember a lot but from what I think I remember, it was not a horrific divorce. I have been told stories about how I cried a lot after my dad left us (I don’t remember much of that, which at the end of the day is a good thing if you ask me). What I do remember is this: (some of this could be wrong, because I was five … but even if it is wrong … this is what I remember) I remember coming home one night (I think from some kind of church event) and my mother did her best to try and explain to a five and two year old that their father would not be coming home again. In the weeks (or maybe it was months) that followed my mother also had to explain to us that my father loved another woman and that we had a half sister on the way.
At some point (let’s say about a month after my Dad left us) my mother found a place for us to start the next chapter of our lives. I don’t think I have ever given my mother the credit she deserves, she stayed strong for my sister and I and surrounded us with beautiful people that loved us. I have always been grateful for the friendships that we made during that time of our lives. My mother never spoke ill of my father; she always pushed for us to have a relationship with him. She even made sure that we still saw family members from my Dad’s side of the family, and that is something that I have always been thankful for (HI AUNT LINDA)!!! Even though my mother always pushed for my sister and I to have a relationship with my father, my father seemed to have a different plan. After my parents divorced my father didn’t come around for about a year or so and even when he did come and visit I couldn’t always bring myself to go with my sister to visit him. Things didn’t stay that way forever, and eventually I did start to go and see him more and I was able to start up a relationship with him again…which made things harder when he would call and cancel plans on us. My father is in the Army, which is one of the reasons why it was harder to see him–his family lived in Virginia, Honolulu , Michigan and a few other places. It was hard not seeing him, don’t get me wrong I was grateful for the time that I did get to see him, but as time went on and we saw him less and less, there was more and more of a disconnect between my father and I.
At some point in my teens I really let the anger towards my father turn into more of a hate. I became very angry towards everyone in my family and that seemed to make things harder on everyone. I was angry at my sister because she was still able to have a relationship with our dad and I envied that, I was angry at my mom, because…well let’s put it like this, I wanted a relationship with my dad but that wasn’t happening so my heart was torn to shreds and I was just sad and angry, so when my mom would come to me wanting to help I would just get angry and snotty towards her because I knew there was nothing she could do about it so I just stayed mad because it was easier that way. I was angry at my step dad because he was the new change in our lives and I didn’t want any more change, I would be snotty towards my mother’s side of the family because I just felt like they didn’t understand what I was going through. Needless to say I was a very angry person and I took it out on a lot of different people and if anyone was to even try and say that I should think about talking to a therapist I would just go into crazy angry rant until they left me alone. My heart was torn apart and I didn’t know how to heal it so I just stayed angry at everyone because I was hurting and didn’t know what to do or who to reach out to. I was surrounded by love but I didn’t know how to accept it.
In 2010 things finally started to change for the better. I sent a email out to my father telling him that I loved him and that I forgave him and was hoping that he would forgive me for all the hate that I had towards him, and a month later I got a email back from him telling me that he was sorry but he was to busy to reply. I called my mother up right away, I cried and told her everything, and at the end of conversation I realized that I could do one of two things: I could continue to be angry and hurt myself and everyone that loved and cared for me, or I could let it all go, I could move on and finally begin to let myself heal–it would be hard but it would be worth it. I stood to gain nothing with continuing to be angry, so I finally made up my mind to let go of all the hate and to let love in. It wasn’t easy but in the years that followed I continued to choose love! I worked on my relationship with my sister (it still isn’t perfect, but I wouldn’t change anything either). My relationship with my mom has gotten much better–we still push each other’s buttons but that’s what mothers and daughters are there for. I am able to talk to my mother in a way that I wasn’t able to in the past and I am so grateful for that! As for my step dad, he is the greatest man in the whole world and I am so glad my mom found him! I love that man with my whole heart, he has taught me and my sister so much about life and he truly has helped make our family whole! I have worked to mend fences with my mother’s side of the family, that family has so much love to give and they love me with all of my imperfections, what more could a girl ask for! As for my dad, I ran into him in 2013 and we have been talking on and off since, heck we even hung out together.. it was a little awkward but I was thankful for the time that I had with him. I have learned so much about love in these past few years; I am far from having it all figured out, but I am excited to keep choosing love!
Every love story is not the same, but that’s the beauty of love! Love can get messy, but despite how messy it can get it’s worth it every time–it has taken me 19 years to heal, and it has taken just as long to finally let love in! So this Valentine’s Day I hope you chose love and not just for today but I hope you continue to chose love even when it’s hard, because it’s just like the Beatles said: ” Love is all you need!” Haha! Okay, maybe not ALL you need…make sure you still get that food and water with a side of air and shelter hahaha! Anyways, happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Make sure you spread the love to everyone today and everyday, and don’t forget to take the time to love yourself!!!! Xoxo – Gabi