Both my sisters were rebellious teenagers, bad-mouthing religion, fighting with the parents, dissing marriage and insisting that they will live-in if the need be. I was the quiet, mousy one. The disintegration of all family ties in the extended family made my sisters very anti-family. In me however it fueled the fire of wanting to build strong familial ties. All my life I can remember actively seeking that. Yet these are not things that we can control.
When I got married I thought I'd hit jackpot. I would finally have what I always wanted. A loving mother in law. A father in law I'd be able to talk to. But most of all a brother in law. My mom had two brother in laws. They at one point shared a great relationship. All the K3G's of the world had messed with my head. I wanted the Bhabi-Devar friendship I had seen so much of. Boy, was I in for a disappointment. It seemed almost cruel that my sisters who'd never wanted any of this got nicer in-laws by far. So did most of my friends. I know they all have their issues, but at least they can pick up the phone and have a civil conversation or hang out once in a while.
Even now when I see cousins hanging out, doing trips together, a stab of jealousy rips through me. I don't have the cousins. I don't have the in-laws. I don't have the husband.
In an interesting twist of events the ex started visiting my son again and for the first time in years things weren't angry and tense. That brought home, like nothing else had, what I was missing. Being a single parent you get used to doing everything on your own. You forget that if you had a partner it would have been different. Things may have been easier. And yet, I missed out on that too.
So yes, in moments like these, I feel sad. About all the relationships that I wanted. All the relationships that I missed out on. When I see a couple with their child or cousins having a blast. When I see someone hug their mother in law. I wish I had that. But I don't. That is my reality and I will have to make peace with it.