Family is Fluid

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(my grandparents and my dad)

This blog post comes from a burst of multiple thoughts that happened when I was doing dishes in my kitchen today. My friend Ari is going to volunteer in Namibia for a month while her partner Anne, stays home to work. I was daydreaming about my (someday) future trip to Africa. I wondered what it would feel like going alone. I was wondering when I could go back with Davy. Then I was thinking about the idea of bringing Davy back to meet members of her Ethiopian family. I was kind of fantasizing about what that would look like and when or if she would ever be ready. I was thinking about how for me, I want her to see where she came from and how she is loved from the ends of the earth and back again. I was thinking about how some people might feel threatened by that, but that I couldn’t see anything wrong with even more people loving on our girl.

Then I was thinking back to my immediate family. I have one brother. Only one brother. He has never met our girl. He doesn’t live far, it’s not like we don’t really talk (well we don’t REALLY talk) but we do converse. She has been home 488 days and he is too busy. It’s not something I am actively angry about all the time, but it wears on me like a dull ache. I am not really angry for Davy. She doesn’t know any better. I am kind of angry on behalf of my parents. I think they are angry about it too- but I am the one who can say and feel it out loud. Maybe I am being a little protective of them, but I feel like my parents deserve have a witness to the transformative affect Davy has had on their lives. I don’t have any illusions over the fracture of my family, but sometimes it makes me really sad. I just feel like its unresolved business.
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That said, I was also thinking about all of the other people in our lives who are family. Our friends Ari and Anne, whom Davy calls the Tantas. They have had a huge impact on Davy’s life. She just loves them to bits. If we have plans with them outside of Davy we have to lie and say we are going to the movies, because if we even mention their names, Davy will say “I want tantas” over and over and over again. THAT is family love. She gets just as excited seeing them as she does any of her grandparents. They are family.

I was also thinking about how when my father married my stepmother 25 years ago, I didn’t ever think I could have any relationship with her. She is so different from my mom. Now I think of her as a trusted friend and often a mentor. She is wonderful with Davy. Funny and sweet. It’s great that I didn’t shut a door 25 years ago so tight that it could never be reopened.

So here is what I think, family is fluid. As long as Andy and I are the consistency in Davy’s life she will always be happy and secure. I think that the others may come and go, its okay. As long as we are mindful about keeping our heart open, the space will get filled.

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