Monday, June 01, 2009

What is a family?

Who ever thought that the meaning of what a family is would become such a hot debate this year? I'll tell you how my family looks like: I have my mom and dad and siblings an ocean away in the Caribbean. I miss them a whole lot...

When I moved to this country I was alone, I had to build a family from scratch. Thank god I had my college buddies and their families. Thanks to them I did not spend a Thanksgiving or a Christmas alone. Along the way, I have picked up a couple of "brothers and sisters". No they are not related by blood, but the ties of friendship are just as strong. See? When you are so far away from your family you have to make do, and sometimes the results are just as beautiful.

7 years ago I met my boyfriend. Once again, the concept of family was thrown into the forefront. Was his family going to receive me? Would I be one more of the pack or would I be the son's "friend", an alien that happened to be at every family event yet would remain unacknowledged? Would I be one of them, or would I be relegated to the role of outsider?

The first couple of years were quite difficult. No, it was not only their fault, it was also mine. They were not sure what to do with me, but i also resisted being received as well. For some reason I felt more comfortable with the role of the outsider than the role of family member. My perceptions of their political views plus my own feeling on the matter led me to resist any advance that could be made.

Then it happened. One day I was talking to my Republican mother in law and she just hit me with it right between the eyes: "Don't you think it is time you start calling me mom? I mean, you've been with my son all these years and you are like a son to me. I want you to call me mom."

There it was, there I was. It had happened and there was no denying it. I was a member of the family (at least on my MIL's side, since the MIL and the FIL are divorced). I expected to have a stronger reaction, but you know what, I liked the idea. I was a member of the family. I belonged.

Since then, family gatherings are a lot nicer for me. I no longer drive separately so I can leave a couple of hours latter feigning a previously scheduled appointment. I enjoy my place in this bunch of nuts and damn it, I enjoy it!

So back to the original question: What is a family?

I could care less what the establishment says what a family is. Society has always ran ahead of what the books and the experts say (or at least those who claim to be experts at guarding the "way it was") I will tell you what my family consists. This is MY family, the one that i am proud of, and embarrased of, and the ones that exasperate me, and the ones that help me, and the ones that one of these days will cry for my ashes as they are scattered:

There is my mom and dad, brother and sister and niece in puerto Rico. There also like 64 cousins and ther proginy, too big to count. I love them all, and miss them all. They are my blood, my soul and my everything. My father is my best friend and the one man that will loom large in my life. To see him is to see how God loves me. My mom loves me with the love of a quiet lake, deep. My brother and sister love me and that is enough. After all the fights and bruises, there is love. To conjure their images is to bring tears to my eyes. We love each other with the ferocity and pride of a pack of wolves. Their love will always humble me. I do not deserve it. Then there's Zam; my niece, my pride and joy. Then there is also my God mother, I could never have been given a better gift from God.

There is Eric, my boyfriend of 7 years. He drives me nuts, and he fills me with love every time I see him peacefully asleep. There is Karla, my Republican mother in law. One of the most adorable women you will ever meet. I am proud she calls me her son. There is Kurt, her husband, also a fun guy who loves his proginy with passion. I can see it in his eyes. There's Terry and Linda, my father and Mother in law, they are a fun couple. Terry is one of those men that prides himself in his character, and he should. He loves his family with the love of a lion. There is Jenny and Marty, Danielle and Dana, LeeAnne, Michael and Tracy and Lilly and Aby, Geoff, my brothers and sisters in law. They are a fun roudy bunch and my life without them would be so much poorer. And who could forget the bunch of Aunts and Uncles by the lake? You have never seen a bunch that loves each other so loud and with so much gusto. Their love inspires.

Then, there's Ron, or Aunty Mame-Ron. My dear friend... One of the most generous men you will ever have the pleasure to meet. I love him deeply, and I love him with the power of a high C.

There's Michele, Dave, Violetta and Daniel. I met Michele in college and we've gone through a lot with each other. To call her anything less than my sister is an insult. There's also Vilma, by now a part of my very soul. Liz, Nick and Anthony. Liz and I go way back; I actually can't remember ever meeting her, she's always been there! She is my sister and nothing else. There's Anne, Susanna and Heikki, people so close to my heart that they might as well flow throw my veins. There's Michael and the Greek Goddess. Michael is my twin brother who was born 6 hours after me about 1,000 miles away. We met in college and ever since the love and admiration have never stopped flowing. The greek Goddess is the woman who took him into her heart, how could I not love the woman who makes my brother happy? There's Nicole, the Janasourious, JC and Joss; their mother is like a sister to me (fights and all), so they are like my nieces. Their strugles are my strugles and their acomplishments are my pride. Then there's Hilda, Jose, Chila, Alex, and Sor Babilonia; all people that were lost for 20 years and yet after 20 years they are there still, in my heart and soul.

So what/s my point? My point is that Family is what God gives you and what you make. Celebrate it, love it, pride yourself in it. Family is what God/Allah/our Higher Power uses to show us how he/she/it loves us. They are like your favorite flavor or ice cream, so bask yourself in your family; those are some extra pounds that your sould will not mind carrying.

To my family, ALL of it: I love you, I pride myself in you, I am honored that I belong to you, I am thankful that God manifested himself through you. I am humbled and amazed by the inmensity of my love for you. I do not deserve you, yet there you are. Thank God for you...

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