Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

Updates on my family


I hope of all of you, my wonderful readers, had a quiet and relaxed easter time. Of course, it’s never really quiet if you celebrate it… Cooking, cleaning, shopping, all that holiday stuff. But if you’re honest with yourself, you probably had fun with that, too and it was worth it! So back to every day life now.

Over easter my aunt called my mother for some chatting and exchanging news and such. I was there too and I actually talked to my Mom for quite a while.

I think my Mom is in the process of forgiving me, somehow. I don’t know why I think that, I guess it’s just the way she talks to me – or talked to me, on that day. I mean, she was so normal. She tried to avoid religious topics and I mean, easter would’ve been a great day to remind me of redemption and salvation and all that, but she didn’t go there. She wished me happy easter and asked what I’ve been doing over the holidays. She listened and was very interested in my stories. Where I went for lunches and dinners, who the people and families are, how I know them, what they do for a living and such. Like, I don’t know… she seemed interested in my life now, not judging me, nothing.

I also asked her what they have been doing, how the holidays went and if there was anything new the last weeks. We talked for a bit on my birthday but due to the difference in time zones and the fact that I worked on my birthday, it was a really short conversation. We had much more time this weekend.

Well, there are some news about my family. My Mom told me that my brother – the oldest one who came after me – got engaged last week. I didn’t even know he was courting and I thought he must’ve been courting back in October when I was in the states, so you can imagine that I reacted hurt to those news. Just because nobody told me. My Mom explained that they weren’t officially courting yet at that point and that it was just my brother talking to the young woman’s Dad at that point. So yeah, it’s normal to not even tell close family because there still might be gossip and it might get hopes up. They started their official courtship mid-November and, as I said, got engaged last week.

I know the girl he’s engaged to, but not very well. She’s from a family we had loose contact with. Her family isn’t as strict as mine (that I know of) and she lives a 30 minute drive away from my family, so they could actually see each other every other day and had many meetings during their close to 6 month courtship period. She’s a very nice girl but much younger than me and every time I saw her, she was very very quiet and shy and we hardly ever talked because she prefered to sit quiet next to her parents. That’s ok, of course, but I can’t really say much about her except that she seems very nice. She’s just 18 so a 6 year difference between me and her might be a reason why I never talked to her on a friendship base but much more on an older sister/babysitter base. Anyways, I’m happy for the two, she’s so precious and genuinely nice and loving, and of course I love my brother. I just hope that he won’t act like a copy of my Dad and that he’ll treat her right and not like a tyrant. I’m actually a bit worried for her but what can I do? I hope for the best.

It’s just one more situation that shocks me, kind of. I might be an aunt within the next year, year and a half. If things went differently, I’d have one or two kids by now. Being an aunt would feel different. It makes me feel like I’m actually younger than my brother, sort of. I feel almost like a child compared to his situation, but I know that’s not true. We simply live in different worlds.

Other than that, my Mom and I also talked about my sister… And I told my mother to see a doctor about it. She’s really not dealing well with it. She said that Dad has become very strange and quiet and I think he might be depressive. But the same goes for my Mom, it’s just a different way of showing it. I don’t know why but it somehow went by me. The big depression, I mean. It’s like all of that happened in another universe, kind of removed from my existence here. Of course I’m sad, of course it hurts, that’s not the point. It’s more like the realisation still hasn’t sunk in, or if it did, maybe I’m just dealing with it on a different level. There are always going to be big loses in life, but the world doesn’t stop and wait for you. You have to keep pushing yourself, or you’ll get lost and never find your way back into life. I think the world has still stopped for my Mom. I feel like she needs help and she said she was going to talk to a doctor about it. I’ll somehow try to make sure she really does it.

My other siblings are fine. They all sat together on the phone once the major conversation with my Mom was over and asked me for a lot of things. My sisters seemed so curious and excited to know about my life now. Especially the older ones… I think they might be questioning if their way is the only way. My brothers didn’t talk much, at least the older ones, because, you know, they didn’t really seem interested and we never had that close of a relationship as I did with the girls. The deep talks weren’t what they come to me for. But the smaller ones were very interested to know about this weird country I live in and asked some funny questions. Do we have microwaves too? Are we allowed to vote? What are the cars like??? They have a boyish fascination with cars and I was a bit sad I couldn’t satisfy them with my answers… I know nothing about cars!

I didn’t talk to my Dad, though. My Mom said he wasn’t in the mood and he was praying and bible studying anyway. He seems to do that a lot now, more than ever. I think he’s still very angry at me. But what can I do? I apologized more than once. I tried to make him understand that I’m not rejecting him as a person. There’s only so much I can do.

All together it was a very nice weekend for me. The phone call with my Mom and siblings gave me so much energy and happiness. I asked my Mom if she would visit me some time this year. She could see her family and go places she liked and show me the places where she went as a girl… I told her it would be so much fun. And I would love her to meet my friends and see what I do these days. She told me she would see what she could do. I told her that I would help her pay for the flight as well and my aunt already said that she’ll be there for financial support as well. I don’t know, that would be like a dream come true but I can’t get my hopes up. I know my family is pretty poor and I actually make so much money with my lousy job that I could afford to pay half of the ticket if I saved for a few months. I know my family would have a very hard time paying for it… Maybe the financial situation will improve once my brother is out of the house (one less mouth to feed, so to say). I’ll see, I guess.


7 thoughts on “Updates on my family

  1. That would be wonderful if your mom can overcome your differences and maintain a relationship, even if there are areas you have to be careful not to discuss (I think that’s pretty common for non-believers from religious families, anyway)

    Good luck, moving forward.

    We don’t celebrate the Christian Easter, but we still do chocolate eggs and the Easter bunny and time with family. Spring’s worth celebrating all on its own, in my opinion. 🙂

  2. I’m glad to hear your relationship with your family is getting better!

  3. First I’m so glad you had a time of good conversation with your mother. I hope you can form a new relationship.

    I’m confused though–does your brother work? And if he does, why does he not help support the family? I would think his getting married and taking his salary out of the house would be a detriment and not a help. And if he doesn’t work, how can he expect to support a wife?

    I suspect your father is caught in a fundamentalist trap–he feels he is being punished because one of his daughters (you) is in complete rebellion against God–or at least against all he (your father) tried to teach the family and another daughter has been killed (allowed to die) to punish him for not being able to keep his family in line. I’m not sure anything other than leaving the movement (which he, of course, cannot do) will alleviate that guilt. I suspect he will “try harder” to keep the rest of the children in line. Not a good thing. I hope and pray that I’m wrong.

    • Oh my brother did certainly contribute to the family income and will do so until the day he actually marries, but not all of his paycheck goes straight to the family like a daughter’s paycheck. It’s a bit of a calculation in most families, the son is supposed to save up (if possible) to make sure he can afford a house for his own family. He’ll have to pay for most of the furniture as well and considering the fact that his wife certainly won’t make any money, plus the fact that there might be a baby within a year, I don’t think the girl’s parents would’ve allowed him to propose in the first place if they didn’t know that he had at least some money saved up. It’s not uncommon for Dads to ask for papers and documents to see if there is any dept, how much the man has saved up, how much he makes, what his monthly expenses are and so on.
      There is something like an unspoken rule that Fathers try to make sure their daughters won’t experience a decrease of living standard once they marry. Having a lot of money saved up increases your options when it comes to women. You could almost say that you have to make sure you can afford the bride of your choice. And of course the parents of sons want to make sure that he can afford the girl he likes. Plus, it’s hard to explain but as long as the son lives at home, the Father still must provide for the entire family including him. In richer families, it’s very common to let the son keep all of the money he makes, poorer ones hardly ever ask for support but the sons pay a sort of “rent”, but it would be rather low and he’d save up most of his money.

      About my Dad, you worded my thoughts on it very well, it’s just what I suspect. I think that lead him into a deep depression that should be medically treated (or at least get some sort of therapy) before bad things happen. Unfortunately, he can’t be forced to take care of himself and official institutions can’t do anything unless he does something stupid. I hope it will never come that far, but I’m afraid.

  4. I am so glad you and your mom were able to have such a good talk. And she even allowed you to be an emotional support to her which it sounds like she really needs. I’m sorry about your dad not making the time to talk. Some men are just really hard to figure out, and it is no one’s fault, especially not yours.

    Do you think that maybe your brother and his new wife will be able to keep in touch with you more and have more of a relationship with you once he is no longer under your dad’s thumb (if that is even something you would want)?

    Our Easter was a fun, crazy, raucous time. We blew off church in the morning in favor of sleeping in and some nice, peaceful quality time with our kids (hubby has been working long, hard days this past week and needed a break… which church is not). All of my family converged at my parents’ house, which sits in 90 acres of woods (a kids’ paradise). With all of my kids, my sister’s kids, and some dear friends, there were 19 kids present, which I know is just one “normal” quiverful family, but to us “partial-quivers,” it sure seems like a lot! I got to hold and cuddle and kiss my sister’s new foster baby, who is as precious as can be. My mom likes to do all of the cooking and keep it pretty simple at our family gatherings so that we moms and dads of youngsters don’t have to do anything but just show up with our kids (which is enough work as it is!). The kids hiked, biked, played wild outside games and heated indoor card games, and even sledded down the hills on DIRT (there was no snow), so we had a dirty bunch of monkeys! We ended the day by all sitting around in a circle outside, singing loudly while grandpa and one of our friends strummed their guitars and my littlest one waddled around the circle dancing and making everyone laugh. I realize it was not the traditional Easter celebration (not one pretty Easter dress in the bunch LOL!), but I wouldn’t have it any other way! We came home late and tired but still had to give baths to the little ones because they looked like they had been rolled in dirt (and I think maybe they had been :-)).

    As we drove through a very small town on the way to my parents’, we saw a really funny Easter game. People were standing in the road, playing baseball with colored, hardboiled Easter eggs! There were bright pieces of egg shells all over the road! I know that sounds very white trash, but I thought it looked like so much fun! We don’t usually do Easter egg hunts (too much sugar and too much work for the amount of fun it provides), but we might have to try Easter-egg-baseball sometime!

    I hope your Easter was lovely and that you were surrounded by people who love you.

    • How are hard boiled eggs too much sugar?

      • HA, ha! The problem is that MY kids are never satisfied with the hard-boiled variety. They feel cheated if they don’t end up with TONS of tacky plastic eggs stuffed full of the junkiest Easter candy known to man. And then they are sick for days and we all pay for it. Much better for our family to find other fun ways to enjoy the holiday!

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