This has been extremely difficult for me. Since having my son, I have felt so bad for not being able to give him a strong support system of extended family. He has asked a lot of questions as he has gotten older and they have been hard to answer. He doesn't understand why we can't rely on certain members of our family. He loves the members he has met, but it is really frustrating to have to explain to him why he won't get to see them often.
As difficult as it has been, it has also been a huge learning experience. I have learned that it is okay not to allow myself to be in toxic relationships with people, even if they are family. I have developed a stronger voice for myself and I'm not afraid to do what is needed for myself, my husband, and my son. Most importantly, I've realized that if I remain in these unhealthy relationships, I will be setting a bad example for my child. He needs to see that boundaries need to be maintained and that you should never let others treat you poorly, no matter who they are.
I have also learned that family isn't just your blood relations. Over the years since my husband and I moved here, we have met some incredible people who have become family to us. Recently, I decided to do a project for my son that involved all of the people who love him doing a small part. When I put out the call, the people who responded weren't necessarily all blood related. In fact, most of them weren't. At first this bothered me but upon reflection, I realized that it was perfect. All the people who responded were the people who my son would really want to see a contribution from anyway. I realized that everything we have been through has brought us to this point. We have so many people who love us and would drop everything at a moment's notice if we needed them.
We are blessed beyond belief. We have finally found our people. I am so grateful.