December 30, 2005

We Are Family

The one of you who happens across this and doesn't know my entire life since the dawn of time or at least since the dawn of the internet, (same time, really, isn't it?) may need some backstory here. I am a lesbian mom partnered with a lesbian mom. We have each given birth to three children with their not-lesbian fathers. Yes, that means we have six children (ages 22 down to 7). We also have 2 ex-husbands, 2 siblings each, 2 mothers, 1 living father, their various and sundry partners, wives, husbands, cousins, etc..; the modern blended family as it is

We just have concluded what has become a tradition of this blended family: the winter break trip to Charleston to see family. Each year more family seems involved in this. Now lets make something clear the parlance of the ages, this is HER family not mine. The oldest child lives there with her husband. My partner's father seems to have moved there. Our presence means that her sister and mother (and some arrangement of their households)come down to Charleston to see us.

The more precise among family definitions would say that part of this family we visit is no longer hers, because we go and spend time with the ex-in-laws. Yes, that is her ex-husband's parents and usually an assortment of siblings, wives, cousins, children, etc.

Now, the first time we went to see these ex-in-laws, we were just dropping off children to spend time with grandparents. I was desperate to pee after a long car ride to the middle of nowhere, so I ventured in. It seemed a little awkward, but I was warmly welcomed. Southern politeness opens many a door.

Several years later, not only am I welcomed, I am expected. We chat about recipes, about people I don't know, about people I feel like I know, spend time catching them up on the little kids. I learn a little more about the stories behind the Christmas decorations. I nab some fudge. I try not to get stuffed to the gills with homemade yummy stuff. I fuss at our big kids to behave. I leave bearing gifts for me, for the little kids, not just the big kids. As we left, I was hugged and reminded to have the little kids to come again next time. These people are, strangely perhaps, my family now.

I also spent time with parents and siblings that would more traditionally called in-laws if we were a married straight couple. Since we are neither, and there is definitely no law...they are her family. They are mine as well; the in-law sort of family. I get to see in person, the people who are most of the year relegated to the stories told about growing up. This is a family that is transformed when it gets together. It is loud, funny and irreverant, though piece-by-piece they are a quiet lot.

This year we had a BABY to play with. The two lesbian mommies who would rather do nothing than have babies, walked through her father's door and grabbed her sister's baby. Ah ha: always the place I have loved to be in a family gathering, the one with the baby. Nothing like the soft, warm, weight of a baby. It made me miss my babies terribly, both the ones they were and the ones they are now. But it was a BABY.

I had to share. Two mommies. One baby. Messed-up math there. Oh well, it is a rare and wonderful thing to hold a baby these days. It is an equally rare and wonderful thing to see my love hold a baby and realize again that she is the sort of person with a baby that I love to see.

The little kids were missed by more than me. The family who has taken me in also adores the three little kids. It would have been good to have them wild with holiday food, excitement and attention.

But, all-and-all, though I roll my eyes at the command appearances and various configurations, it is good to go home to family, even if it isn't the home she remembers or grew up in, even if it isn't what any legal definition would say was my family.

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Lucy said...

You know what it is, Ramblewoman - you have cute kids! I don't think there is a family in the world that doesn't absolutely ache for little people around christmas! In fact, I'm sure my mother plots to kidnap a few neighbours kids 'cause her own are all grown up and stubbornly refusing to breed. As for having a BABY to play with - oh wow! :-)

Re. the legal part - well, my lovely friend Marcus tells me its very important for super annuation and insurance and general freedom of choice and respect reasons, and I would have to agree. But at Christmas, really, family is family is family, I reckon - anyway :-)

~ nellenelle said...

Mebbe as the older ones head on out, you will adopt... you are good parents, both.

TW said...

Ha on the adopting. We live in Florida. The part we love most about all of it is the BEING PREGNANT. AND more importantly, we have SIX kids. Plus while we love kids, love being pregnant, love mothering with every part of our being, we simply cannot keep having children, which is pretty much what we would have to do from now until eternity in order to give us a complete baby, toddler, kid fix.

Fortunately the 22 yo is plotting having a baby, so we will be grandmas. Of course, this is a subject of much glee at our house at the same time we look at that overgrown puppy she married and shake our head.

Emsxiety said...

Sounds like a wonderful family Christmas.
As for whether they are legally family or not? Does it matter? Seems to me they are your family, in love and life!

~ nellenelle said...

Maybe science can find a way to simulate pregnancy? Now that would be a novel study... simulated pregnancy for those who wish to be preggers.

That does not solve the baby craving however, and I'm out of ideas. ;-(

Being a gram seems a good solution, one that I'd enjoy, but alas will never do.

TW said...

The pregnancy simulation probably wouldn't work. Besides, I doubt science is really looking into such a thing since it seems most women are conditioned into hating it.

TW said...

The legality thing really is more of a taxonomy thing. As you know, we aren't big on marriage here, for many reasons. One of those reasons is wrapped up in this whole naming of family thing. Why is it that family is a legal construct at all? Shouldn't it be a social construct? In any case, it would be easier if there were some sort of legitimate one word term to describe relationships, because it often sounds like a teenager describing who is having a party without really saying it is Kirsten whose parents are in the Poconos for the weekend or worse a standardized test question.

Emsxiety said...

TW: I understand. Family should be social not legal. But legal has been so involved with who can be family for so long I think we forgot how to be social.

Hmm one word... this could be a future blog.

The Recovering Straight Girl said...

Hi, I stumbled accross your blog from somewhere else, (which is almost always the case.) I read through some of your posts and very much enjoy your writing style and the articulation in your story telling. I look forward to reading/learning more about you:)

Happy New Year!

TW said...

Thanks for stopping by and the compliment!

Almost Lazarus said...

Oh, and I thought my life was complicated. Heh.

TW said...

Nah Laz, not complicated. Interesting. Though, your board trouble is intriguing.