Episode 4: FAMILY - How I Learned to Love
What comes to mind when you think of family?
Today I’m diving right into the heart of things - what family means to me and how my childhood shaped my view of it.
To be honest, I probably need a shot of whiskey to dive in, but I’m just gonna rip it off like a band-aid and get started.
I’m not saying that this is a great story, but it is a true story.
Where it all Started
Growing up we all tend to believe everyone sees life through the same filters we do. But boy - I came to learn later in life, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you’ve listened to my past podcast episodes you know, I got a rough start in life.
From being burned as a toddler and spending most of my childhood in Shriners Burn Institute, to my dad leaving and not coming back until I was 12 or 13 years old, to actually later finding out just last year that the man I called dad wasn’t actually my biological father.
It was a different time when I was a kid. We ran the streets sometimes until midnight. Today kids can hardly go one street over in the light of day and I used to travel one town over.
I Didn’t Know What Love Was
My mom was a stay-at-home mom, which for me was short for, we were on welfare. The fact is, we were really poor growing up livin’ in a 600 square foot home with one bathroom shared between us four kids.
And really, when it comes to extended family, my grandmother was the only grandparent I ever knew. She was a classy and good lady who loved and took care of us. Even though I never really felt love from my mom or dad, I did feel it from my grandmother and later my wife.
So, now I look back and I know I was hurt. But back then, I didn’t realize that I was hurt. And we’ve all heard the saying, hurt people, hurt people. So before I even knew it, I hurt other people too.
It wasn’t until I found out that my dad wasn't my biological father that this all came to light for me. And in fact, I found out by accident while completing a 23&Me!
Can you imagine what it feels like to go through 47 years of your life, and then have that dropped in your lap? I found this out on a Tuesday and mentally, I knew right then, I had to get my mindset right.
I Had a Choice
Now I knew I had two choices. The first choice, I could choose to live from Tuesday, going forward with the information I now knew. Or the second choice, I could rewind to Monday and say, you know what, this doesn’t change a damn thing!
To me, this was just something the devil tried to put in front of me to deter me, distract me, and get me off course.
So I decided - it didn’t change a thing.
I mean, do you realize what the odds of being born are? Somewhere around one in four trillion. That means you have better odds of winning the lottery multiple times than you do of being born!
So I thought to myself, you know what? It doesn’t matter how I got here. I’m here and I’m going to make the most of it.
Call a Spade a Spade
One thing I’ve learned, unfortunately after two of my children are out of the house, is how all of this affected me being a parent. Now, admittedly, I wasn’t the best parent but hindsight’s always 20/20. I mean, we never hit our kids... but then again we had really great kids, so we never really needed to.
But that just really wasn’t enough. I realized after they had grown, I probably didn’t love them enough in the way they needed to be loved - and for that - I’ll forever be sorry.
I know I can’t fix it, but the one thing I can do now is try to make it better.
Again, it came full circle. I remember asking my dad, when I was around 18, “How come you’ve never told me you love me?”
Now I know that my dad really does love me, but when I asked him that, he just looked at me and had nothing to say. And now I think to myself, if that’s what happened to me, yeah - I probably did that to my kids.
It was horrible but I just didn’t know. I didn’t realize my dad was unknowingly doing it to me and I was unknowingly doing it to my children. But coming to that realization, it really hit home for me.
Is This What Love is?
Learning love really came to light for me when I met my wife’s family and went to their home for Easter. I couldn’t believe they weren’t fighting and screaming! Heck, they even had a mother and a father!
I mean, this was totally foreign to me!
They knew each other and really liked each other! Was this what it meant to be a family unit?
Don’t get me wrong, over the years there’s been ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade them for the world. Both my in-law’s have been married and divorced, but they’re phenomenal people.
I’m so thankful that they gave me a peek into how it could be because I took that and I built on it.
And you know what? I’m here. And the only thing I can do is fix what I know moving forward and spoil those grandbabies when they come home!
What are some family struggles that you’ve faced? Write them down and let me know what they are by tagging us on social media @kosmounfiltered.And don’t forget to join us for our next episode where I talk all about finances, and how I turned $500 into one of the fastest growing companies in America.