When I started this blog, I honestly didn't think anyone would be interested in knowing about my journey. I've been very pleasantly surprised about the support it's received. So many people have taken the time not only to read what's in this space but also to comment about it as well. For that, I am incredibly grateful. What's more, I've discovered not only am I sharing my journey, I'm uncovering myself in the process.
As those of you who regularly read this blog know, I am sans family. Well, not completely without family, but I don't have children. It wasn't a choice but a medical condition that prevents me from having kids; my husband is not comfortable with adoption. When I first found out I shouldn't have children, I was devastated, but never shared that with anyone. It wasn't 'me' to share my feelings (hard to believe, right?!). Years past, and like any loss, the pain eased a bit. But I find that not having the opportunity to have children, as I so deeply want, has had other unexpected and sometimes unwanted consequences.
My husband comes from a large family. He has four siblings and as of today, we have seven living nephews and nieces (one is deceased) ranging in age from 34 to 4 and seven grand- nephews and nieces. When I first met my husband, everyone was very close and we spent the vast majority of our free time with them. We were present at the births of three of our nieces and nephews, a privilege I never thought I'd have. We cared for our 'middle' nieces and nephew like they were our own, because in many ways, they were the closest thing we'd ever get to knowing what it feels like to have our own family.
But, as with so many families, there was a disagreement. There was a member of the family who, quite frankly, didn't want to BE a part of the family. That person considered their family to just be a spouse and children. Didn't want the 'intrusion' of the rest of the family. So, this person systematically took down an entire family. It's incredible to look back on the series of events and realize that's what was happening. When it was all said and done, last summer, my husband's family fell apart to the point siblings pointed fingers at each other and said they were no longer siblings. How very, very sad.
Over the last seven years or so, we stopped going to his family functions because they were just too awkward; frankly we'd stopped receiving invitations to things. My husband was always a bit philosophical about these kinds of things. I have to claim my feminine qualities for taking it much more personally; for admitting that my heart broke a little more each day we were pushed farther and farther out of the family.
At the same time last summer my husband's family was splitting apart, my parents fulfilled their dream of moving to Arizona. While they've settled in and seem happy, my Mom has had a number of medical challenges, including two stays in the hospital. I don't have the financial resources to go back and forth to Arizona, so I haven't seen them in almost a year. Just last week Mom had to go back to the emergency room; my first thought was I just wanted to be there to hold her hand. I struggle with feeling guilty that I'm not there to take care of them at a time in their lives when they really need me. Except they chose to be in Arizona and are happier there than they were when they lived here.
I made a profound realization this week. The timing of my decision to restart my genealogical journey came squarely at a time when I felt abandoned by my family. I threw myself into my genealogical research and I decided to start this blog. I recognized, as an Archivist, that there simply is not enough education out there for family historians and Genealogists about how to properly care for and manage their own collections and I want to fill that void with the knowledge I've acquired. I brought people into my circle and I tried to get on a solid path to creating an archival and genealogical services business. Having worked in the financial industry, I recognized that keeping your business and personal lives separate is a key to success. But in the Genealogical world, those lines aren't so clear cut.
The other aspect of my realization is that, feeling abandoned by my family, I tried to create a family rather than a business. I so desperately want to be a part of a family that I subconsciously created one where one didn't exist. I put expectations on people that were incredibly unfair, and in so doing, harmed potentially beneficial relationships. Only time will tell if this tactical stumble will hurt me in the future with my business; I hope that my passion for the stories our ancestors have to tell and the desire to preserve the physical remnants of those stories will be what people remember. I am a skilled technician and an exemplary researcher; I have a significant drive to share that with others.
I felt the need to share this story here because someday I hope that someone researching their family will have a greater understanding of why I'm so passionate about being a Genealogist. (As I say to myself) It's a family, dummy.
Why did YOU become a family historian or Genealogist? I'd love to collect your stories too...
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