Monday Morning Pages: Family means …

by Rebecca A. Watson on January 27, 2014

in friends, holidays, love, Monday Morning Pages

I was heating up my leftovers in the newspaper break room right around the 2008 holiday season. People were chatting about what they were planning on doing during the next month; most of them were planning to visit relatives or were entertaining family in their home.

When someone asked me what my plans were, I told them how I was volunteering with a friend and colleague to serve food to the homeless. My friend was from the East Coast, which everyone knew, but I was from the area. A few coworkers were curious: Why wasn’t I going home for the holidays?

I said I’d rather not, shrugged my shoulders and tried to leave it at that. I must have seemed pretty uncomfortable about it, because after everyone left, another lady from my office came up to me and put her hand on my shoulder.

“You’re not the only one with family problems, you know,” she said. “LOTS of people have issues. Don’t feel left out.”

sante grand canyon

You are not alone.

Those words have rung through my ears over the years, mostly because I guess it just dawned on me that yes, there are loads of people who don’t spend time with their relatives during the holidays. Or any time for that matter.

Or maybe it had occurred to me, but I didn’t want to be classified in that group. I wanted a happy, normal family. (And the chorus in my head goes, “Who doesn’t?”)

In reading my journals from the past few years, it has become obvious to me that this time of year tends to revolve around my family, whether I see them or not. My pages are littered with mentions of them.

But there is something more too. Something bright and shiny and hopeful. 

In 2012 I wrote:

“It’s funny that two of my friends have such great relationships with their families but can still see my problems and not judge. I’m happy for that. … Doesn’t it feel good that you have a family here [California] who loves you? Yes it feels good. And that Once Upon a Time line about family always finding each other? That’s how I feel about Sante and I and my friends.”

And in 2013:

“So while my heart continues to thaw, I must realize that I can’t expect them to get to the same place I am. … Our relationships will always be stunted but we can still work on having a limited relationship. And that’s OK.”

Now normally I’m pretty quiet about my family relationships, at least the ones that aren’t stellar, but after I reading these last night and then seeing my horoscope for the week, I felt compelled. Rob Breszny is genius and has guided me for years:

Actor Casey Affleck appreciates the nurturing power of his loved ones. “My family would be supportive,” he says, “if I said I wanted to be a Martian, wear only banana skins, make love to ashtrays, and eat tree bark.” I’d like to see you cultivate allies like that in the coming months, Aries. Even if you have never had them before, there’s a good chance they will be available. For best results, tinker with your understanding of who your family might be. Redefine what “community” means to you.

family dinner

At one of our “family” dinners last year.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been slowly doing this already. Of course I’ve got my hubby and his family, who have been fantastic, warm and welcoming. I’ve also got a great group of friends around the globe whom I love. And don’t be mistaken, there are folks I’m related to by blood that are all sorts of awesome.

But I wonder, who would be supportive of me wearing only banana skins? I know Sante is OK with me being an alien because it’s one of the first things I told him about myself. I think I’ve got these allies around me, but I’m keeping my eyes and heart open for more.

The flip side of this is actually being open with my friends that yes, I’d actually like to try tree bark. (True story.) Or maybe that I want to write about my tales around drinking and the backwards path my addiction seemingly took. Or perhaps that I’m suddenly interested in learning Chinese.

Having a supportive family means being open about who I am as well. So while I’m out seeking out more of my community, I planning on being my truest, most honest self. I challenge you to as well!

Wondering what this Monday Morning Pages thing is all about? Read how it started. Or check out all the archives.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jade Mullins January 28, 2014 at 8:50 am

Ok, this gave me a lump in my throat. I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate your writing. You have this uncanny knack for striking a cord in me not often struck. You have touched on several topics in the last year that I relate to on a deep level. This is yet another, so I feel compelled to gush to you a bit so you are aware. You bring such an authenticity to your writings that I can easily relate with you. It tends to be topics I cannot easily relate with others on. So thank you again for your courage and honesty. How we were not better friends, I’m not sure. But I will say I’m grateful for your writings. Cheers sister!


Rebecca A. Watson January 30, 2014 at 2:53 am

Awwww this just gave me chills all over. Thank you for writing this compliment to me. It means so much 🙂


Jade Mullins February 4, 2014 at 10:36 pm


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