The last few years have made me have to re-think how I look at it. I’m forced to get a little more personal here than I usually do, but I think it’s with good reason. My wife and I have three boys that live with us. They’ve been with me since the youngest was just 18 months old. You see, I’m not their biological father, although I did adopt them about 6 years ago. Their biological father was A~’s ex (Heretofore referred to as X~) and there was a time that we had a hard time dealing with some of the issues that naturally come about in such a situation. We wanted things one way, he wanted them another and of course that left three little boys in the middle. There came a point when he and we came to decide that it was best just to let me adopt them. We would have the control over their future that we were so worried about, and he wouldn’t have to be so caught trying to fill a position that he seemed to be having a hard time coming to grips with. It was a blessing, I think, for all of us and is something that although it took a couple of years to fully digest, has benefited all of us greatly.
I can’t speak for X~, nor would I want to, but I assume that he’s had problems with me in the past just as I have had with him; that, I’m sure, was unavoidable. Here’s the thing though, over the last couple of years we seem to have found some oddly peaceful way of all coexisting that I never could have imagined, but am so immensely grateful for. It’s not even just he and I that have found some commonality but rather that all of us, in our hopes for what would be best for our boys, have.
So why am I talking about this? Because we just had a Thanksgiving evening that was unlike any other that I ever thought I would have, and you know what? It was good. A~ and I had family over for the evening. But to define it as such takes a little bit of creativity. You see, it wasn’t just her and I and the boys with her dad and his girlfriend, but also X~ and his mom and her husband who is not X~’s father. Two distinctly different family components came together, hers with her father and his with his mother. And each of them came with someone that wasn’t related to A~ or X~. Then there was me, not in anyway related, biologically anyway, with anyone at the table. What were the commonalities? We all wanted to be together with people we loved. Did we all love each other? No. Hey I’m just being honest here; this isn’t pie in the sky stuff. But I know we all love either the boys, or at the very least the people who love the boys. So we have a choice don’t we? Do we shuttle kids around to each others homes, schedule parcels of time when we all get to be with loved ones, and waste half a day in the process, or do we accept that we have some differences, but that really what matters most is we all care deeply for our families and want to foster that without boundaries?
As it were, we chose the latter and I think we were all better for it. We prayed together, ate together and laughed together. Our children/grandchildren were happy and felt loved. They got to visit, play with and be loved by not only one family or the other, but by both. For our part, A~, X and I that is, we didn’t have to worry about squeezing in a good holiday with the boys in time to get them over to the other house. We got to slow down, enjoy the company and be thankful for the season and for all of our gifts and blessings.
So I ask again, how do you define “Family”? Who do you chose to let in to your fold? Sometimes it really might not be entirely up to us who they are, but rather whether we chose to accept them and be happy with what we have. I do.
I hope all of your Thanksgivings were wonderful and look forward to hearing from you all soon.