Sam and I have been in our hometown since the week of Christmas and it’s been really nice spending it with family. Truth be told, I never thought I’d utter those words because there was a time I thought I’d never talk to my family again. But here we are, staying at my parents house, proving that miracles do happen. For many years, there were misunderstandings from my childhood. I grew to be a very disrespectful teenager which carried into my adulthood. Many people didn’t know this. I often felt like my parents didn’t care about correcting me and, thus, felt justified. I always knew when I was rude and disrespectful that I was wrong, but I didn’t know how to express myself and didn’t want to admit that maybe I was wrong.
Growing up, my mother was a teacher at the school I attended, and, I think that was the best scenario, honestly, because I always remember her being there. We had the same schedule and I never knew her to work overtime, holidays, or crazy hours. I never had to go to daycare. There was a brief time that she would bring work home but that ended quickly. Since our schedules were the same, that meant we took a lot of camping trips, trips to Disneyland, and lots of family time. My mother encouraged me to develop my imagination by making me forts out of cardboard boxes and old blankets. I do appreciate those days. I also had a pool growing up because my parents knew I loved to swim. I had friends over all the time and almost always had a sleepover.
Although I can look back at these times and appreciate the good memories, I also look back on my early years and remember many times playing outside in the backyard, in the pool, and my mother used to watch me through the window. I would ask myself, “How come she doesn’t come outside?” “Why doesn’t she play or interact?” My mother would watch me play from a distance, but never sat down for a few minutes to get into my world.
Regarding my dad, I remember he often worked long hours but whenever he came home, we always played hide-and-seek. That was the thing we always did. I used to think I was so clever in my hiding spots and he always pretended he didn’t know where I was. My super secret hiding spots were the hamper in the hallway and behind the couch. I thought I had one over on him every time.
You may be asking yourself, why would I be so disrespectful to my parents? It does appear that I was a very ungrateful child. That’s fair to say.
I remember having a close relationship with my dad as a teenager, but mine with my mom continued growing distant. My mom, at this point, didn’t know what to do or how to reach out to me. From my perspective, she didn’t seem to try. My dad at times started speaking for her, putting himself in the middle, which strained our relationship. I never understood the reasoning for it and looked to me that she was making my dad speak on her behalf. That started changing my relationship with my dad. Over the years, in high school, college, and as an adult, I didn’t say much to my parents because I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t talk to them and didn’t feel comfortable doing so. This eventually carried into my marriage. It seemed that my dad wanted a relationship with me through my husband.
Every time I talked about my boundaries, my parents got upset and didn’t understand. It never went well and, thus, created an even bigger divide. I didn’t know what else to say. Every time I tried pursuing a relationship with them, my efforts didn’t seem appreciated or valued. When they tried on their behalf, I would be disrespectful, I admit. I wasn’t shown how to respect them. There was a great distance because of the obligation of unmet expectations. Looking back, I think my behavior was enabled because they didn’t know what to do with me. Things were misunderstood and eventually arguments ensued. It finally reached a point that I needed to have space for awhile. I needed time to think and pray. We didn’t have communication for over two years. I always felt like I was the problem. For two years, there was painful silence, a lot happened in that time though. Growth happened. God had been so faithful to all of our prayers. It gave everyone time to get over their hurts and reflect. We all wanted the same thing, but didn’t know how to achieve it.
With 2020 being the way that it was, I felt in my heart it was time to reach out and mend the bridge. I know that the hour is at hand and this is Satans time. It’s an exciting time to be alive but also distressing. This is certainly not a time to harbor past hurts, it’s a time to forgive. Holding onto bitterness on top of everything else is just pointless.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:.…a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;….a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace….He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God made them from the beginning to the end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,3-5,7-9, + 11
When Sam and I were in the middle of a legal battle and facing an eviction notice for discrimination, (you can read our story here) we decided to go public. We were interviewed by a YouTuber who had a pretty large following. We were very grateful for the opportunity to have a platform. We had tons of support from all over the place. We were shocked when there was a financial gift from my parents in our paypal account. They had gotten wind of our story. When I saw that, the walls came down, and the repair process began. The fact that they gave us a financial gift doesn’t matter, that was an olive branch and that opened the door. God used this avenue to rebuild that bridge.
We have since laid our differences on the table, talked about issues we wanted to but were not ready for or didn’t know how to communicate. We apologized to one another and have been able to use this time to rebuild the bridge we always believed could never be rebuilt. We agreed we all wanted the same thing. We can agree we all wanted a relationship but didn’t know how to communicate to the other person. Frustrations continued to ensue. At this point, we had to give the relationship to God. It was difficult going through that season but now looking back, I can see that it was beneficial. The only reason we had hope was because we had hope in Christ.
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil”
To change the perspective, my dad had a very strained relationship with his dad when he was young. When my mom came into the picture, she and my grandmother worked together to get my dad and my grandfather to mend their relationship. This scenario was successful in assisting to build their bridge up again. That was my dad’s hope, without knowing or realizing what harm was being done, his heart was in the right place. He saw that it worked for him, and thought it might work again.
During the time of silence, I reached out to my mom’s sisters and learned about my family in a different light. My grandmother grew up in a time where children are seen and not heard. My grandparents had a difficult marriage and raised 5 girls in the midst of that. My grandmother was not very nurturing and suffered from severe depression. My aunts said that they were often put in the middle to help comfort their mother. My mother only passed on what she knew. I understand now why my mom was distant.
She also didn’t realize that I needed more attention. She did create an environment that developed my imagination, she allowed friends over often, she never put me in the middle of her relationship with my dad, and she always played praise and worship music in the home.
My dad recently retired and I notice a significant difference in his demeanor. He is much more relaxed. I don’t think he realized how much his job effected him. He worked a very stressful job and it carried with him. Since that day my parents extended the olive branch, our relationship has been blossoming. Communication has been easy and doesn’t feel forced at all. Not only do I notice a significant difference in my dad, but I also notice a difference in my mom. There’s more give-and-take in conversations, making it enjoyable.
We were all without hope. For a long time we all tried but were not communicating well and didn’t know any other way to do it. Although the silence was extremely difficult, it was necessary because it put us all in a position to change and allow God to open that door. I honestly do not know if this reunion would have been possible if we did not have this hope in Jesus. A miracle happened.