Family is #1 to me. Ahead of everything else.
I learned from my grandfather (may he rest in peace) that family is everything. You should always be there for them no matter what. If you are pissed off at someone, but they are in need, you should NEVER turn your back on them. I have really taken this to heart. So much so that I have gotten my last name tattooed on my forearm for everyone to see.
I get made fun of for this, and all of it comes from my own family. Maybe others think it’s stupid too but are just nice enough not to say anything. The fact that I get ridiculed for this from my own flesh and blood really hurts deep. My old man is the worst about it. He hates tattoos in general, but always will go out of his way to make a snide comment about that one.
What people don’t understand is that before I got my kids tattooed on me (See: In A Rose Tattoo), this was my absolute favorite one. It meant the most to me. I am PROUD to be a Harrington. It is what my grandfather taught me and it is what reminds me of him now that he is gone.
Family is the most important thing.
But my family’s hate for my tattoo isn’t what this post is about. This post is about how my family fell apart. And it all started a month after I got married.
I just moved to VA with my wife and step-daughter 3 days after my wedding. No honeymoon, just Christmas and a trip half way across country. Roughly a month after we got there (while going through the exciting new found marriage arguments) I got a phone call from my dad telling me that my Aunt and Uncle had split up. They had split because he found some emails to/from my aunt to other people that were less than favorable to her, my uncle (who I adopted as my Godfather because my in a fuck), and their marriage. This is all probably more than you need to know but it is the beginning of me realizing that my family is just as fucked up as everyone else’s.
I always thought that my family just loved each other. That we all got along (for the most part) and that we would always get together for every holiday or just because. Well, I should have known that was a crock of shit when one of my uncles wouldn’t even come to my wedding. I didn’t even get his RSVP until 1.5 weeks before the wedding. No call. No card. Just a “no” checked in the response section. I may have almost gotten into a fist fight with him about a year before that, but I’m pretending that that wasn’t the cause of this. He was busy with work in AZ and “couldn’t make it”.
I don’t hold grudges to any of these people that did me wrong at this time. I was told to forgive and forget because they are family. Apparently, I was the only one that ever had this sink in.
Over the course of the last 8 years, I have found that my aunts and uncles can’t hardly stand each other’s spouses, my dad is a degenerate gambler, my parents are on the verge of splitting up, my grandparents wouldn’t listen to all of the facts but still try to be mediators, and everyone puts on a happy face for the little kids.
The worst part of it is, my brothers and sisters are being subjected to all of this much younger than I was (by about 5-7 years). This makes me very very sad for them. Things are so screwed up in my family that one of my sisters is all fucked up too. She’s lost it more than anyone else I know in my family. I pray for her. She needs it.
I am the oldest cousin and because all of this started right after I became an “adult”, I feel like things started to fall apart because of me. It has really taken its toll on my self esteem.
I know all families are screwed up. I just remember such a “happy” family when I was little. It’s not just a crash of my dreams to realize that we aren’t, it makes my childhood safe place non-existent.
I love my family. I will never stop forgiving them and moving on. My family is the most important thing to me. I love my family so much that I permanently put them all on my body. I don’t care if anybody understands why, but I will always have them with me.