Family Relations


Boundaries are funny things. They are static and fluid at once, at times quick to change and at others as immobile as the Himalayan peaks. It takes time to determine what your boundaries. In my more noble moments, I convince myself I can live with some, only to find, in real life moments, they are completely unworkable. Those pertaining to my mother are such as these.

She is a woman I truly respect. She has done so much and come so far in her life. If the measure of a person’s success is to improve on the values and mistakes of one’s parents, then my mother has come eons. And yet, she is still the singular most frustrating, anger provoking person I know.

I tire of the constant tension. It wastes so many precious moments. She is seventy- five, mildly diabetic, with heart issues, and a maintenance drinker. She is not likely to be around for much longer. Yet she generates so many utterly unnecessary whirlwinds. I will not digress to share the wounds of my sisters, my own are numerous enough. My sister and cousin and I were having dinner recently. My sister asked “Who does mom treat worse?”, fully believing she claimed the title. My cousin hesitated not a beat – “Hands down Debbie”. It is not a badge of honor I choose to wear, just one I am stuck with. For perhaps a multitude of reasons, I drive her as crazy as she drives me but for the opposite reasons. I choose to have boundaries. I want my own life has. I need to be my own person, separate from the family. I have specific issues my family no concept of.

Case in point, I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. They didn’t really think I was an Alcoholic because I was 23 when I stopped, although they were sure I had a problem. My parents were both alcoholics too, but never desired to change. Well, that’s not entirely true. My Dad stopped when my sister told him she would not let him babysit the grandchildren unless he swore off. My Mom was a functional alcoholic. She ran a successful business and the family with sternness and love. When she died, the large building that is our church was packed. I was floored by all the people she had influenced and helped.


Dani between two redwoods.jpgI have an amazing daughter
who climbs Redwoods, does
handstands on cliffs, has lived
in Malawi and Ethiopia,
is a striver, fierce,
independent, not afraid,
a child of God –
all the things I wanted
to be but couldn’t,
I couldn’t be prouder.



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