Post Classifieds

Writer sees end of "nuclear" families

By Chancellor Mills
On April 22, 2010

We are no longer living in the 1950s. There is no longer such a thing as the "nuclear" family. How many guys are still going home to their wives and their 2.5 kids?

To hell with the "nuclear" family.

Ever since I was about five years old, it has only been my mother and me. My father hasn't really been in the picture much since then. When I tell people that, I have noticed they tend to give me the old sympathetic "Aww." This is unwarranted, however, as I don't view this absence of a father as an entirely negative thing. My situation has affected me in a lot of good ways over the years.

Since it has only been my mother and me for the majority of my life, I feel as if I have a closer relationship with her than most people do with one or both of their parents. There is very little my mom does not know about me. She knows about the first time I drank alcohol. She knows about everyone important in my life here at A&M-Commerce. She even knows about the time I fell through a friend's ceiling and had to fix it using nothing more than duct tape and Spackle.

With my mom being a single, working parent, she was not always able to be around. At times like these, other family members of mine stepped in to pick up some of the slack.

My grandmother, "Nana," stepped in as my second mother and spoiled the crap out of me. My aunt Ronda, who still claims to be my biological mother – which is, frankly, quite frightening to think about – became my third mother. My cousin often played the part of the little sister whom I never had. And my grandfather, whom I used to call "Papaw" and now call "Old Man," played the best surrogate father that I could have asked for. A few of my mother's fleeting boyfriends tried to play that part as well. Where they fell short – and they always did – my "Old Man" succeeded.

As much as my family tried, they could not always be there for me, and, because of that, I have spent an inordinate amount of my childhood alone, left to my own devices. While this seems like a bad thing, and sometimes it was, it actually had a monumental effect on my personality development. I became quite independent at an early age, taking care of myself after school and even some nights. I also feel that, that time alone allowed me to develop a unique personality without interference from my family or anybody else.

Overall, I think that I have benefited from having such a small family. It almost makes all the crippling loneliness and schizophrenia worth it.

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