Creating Family.November 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Posted in NaBloPoMo, Stuff Outta My Head | 9 Comments
I’m not sure what it was about my last post that made it seem like I am not thankful to have my husband here, as short as his stay this weekend might be, but I want to apologize if I came across that way.
I miss him when he’s gone. And I don’t relish the idea that he’s getting back on a plane this week.
But just like I am thankful to have Lucky in my life, I am also thankful for Charlie. And I am thankful that I am not a single parent 100% of the time.
That doesn’t mean I can’t miss him when he’s gone, or talk about how I dislike his travel schedule either. My story, right now, includes missing my husband when he’s gone. Still my story.
And this is kind of an appropriate topic, because yesterday Charlie and I went to a wedding, where they had a Catholic ceremony; one of my few experiences with Mass (goodness, is it even capitalized?).
I was intrigued by the responses that everyone seemed to know by rote, the kneeling, the pagentry of the Communion. I sat next to a friend who is Catholic, and after the ceremony, we talked at length about how things were really different from when we were all kids: confession now is a face to face conversation with a priest. Even some of the rituals of the church, like Communion, are much different.
And I have to admit, I was so curious about the priest. As a person who did not grow up Catholic and is not very religous, the idea that the elderly priest believed in a God so deeply that he would eschew a wife and/or kids and dedicate his life to the church was fascinating to me.
It was interesting, too, to see the KIND of teachings the priest talked about.
Our friends that got married yesterday are not planning on having children; they are one of the rare few people who have decided that being parents is not for them. And (because of course I’m sensitive to the whole “child(ren)” discussion right now) I paid attention to how often the topic of children came up.
First reading: Adam and Eve, and God tells them to go and “be fertile.” Second reading: Be welcoming. The priest, in his homily, tells them that the wedding, today, is about welcoming each other as husband and wife. And welcoming children, which will create their family. They actually vowed to welcome children with open arms as part of their wedding vows.
This idea that children made you a family somehow seemed an integral part of the service.
And it made me think about this whole idea of creating family, and how I felt about the definition of family, and how the newly married couple defines their family differently than what the priest talked about. And then I started thinking about how my feelings about creating family have changed over the years.
When we were trying for children, I believed that only kids would make Charlie and I a family. I’m not sure why I felt this way, honestly. Maybe I internalized the teachings of my childhood church more than I thought. Maybe I felt like a family was something you had to work to create; that a person, or people, who were a combination of Charlie and me bonded us as a family more than any ceremony could. I don’t know.
What I DO know is that now I feel completely different.
Charlie and I, when we moved in together, created our family. When we pledged to each other to build a life, when we merged our possessions, when we went to family events as a team, together. When we realized that we loved each other and wanted to wake up next to each other for the rest of our lives.
THAT is when we started our family, he and I. And when we finally brought home Lucky, our family – the one we created – expanded to include him.
Familes are created every day. And none look alike. Whereas Charlie and I went the traditional route of getting married and having a child, our friends B&C have decided that they are a family, just the two of them. My friend K, who swore to me after her divorce that she will never marry again, has her family: two children with her partner. We have girlfriends who, thankfully, are allowed to marry in Massachusetts, who have been living together for the past two years, who have decided to marry, but who insist that they are a family already. I’d guess that if pressed, the priest would say that his family is his church and God.
Family is one of those things that YOU, as a person, define. And that definition changes over the years.
Today I define our family as Charlie, Lucky, and I.
And I am very thankful for my family.