Family / Family-building

Expanding Your Family of Two

The thing about being a “family of two” is this little fact, more
eloquently expressed by Marcus, a twelve year old who is the main
character in Nick Hornby’s novel, “About a boy.” After living through
his mother’s failed suicide attempt, Marcus laments the fact that his
family is only two, because you need many more than that to help keep
things together.He’s right. You do. You need a lot more than two to keep your family
going.  By hook or by crook, you find people who “fit” in with you and
your life. Sometimes, you meet these people through others that you’ve
already let in. Other times you meet them in random places, like the
laundry mat, where you struck up a conversation with them because they
were wearing an old tee shirt with a picture of your ultimate, all
time favorite band.  And sometimes, though becoming much more frequent
than “sometimes,” you meet people who you jive with on the internet.

The joy of these extended families is in the support, the company and
kinship, the shared laughter and reflection on life.  Here are the
family members that help you to know that you are not alone in the
world, that others struggle and succeed, the mentors and advocates
that help guide you along your (occasional) shared path.

There is something else about these extended families that is both
amazing and somewhat sobering.  One day, not too long ago, I could
flip through the list of links that appear on the sidebars, and read
about what is going on with other queer families around the globe.  I
could look away from their pain, their anguish.  Their joy wasn’t
mine, merely something I hope to attain for myself someday.   Their
pain was sad, but not necessarily applicable.

Now, having made connections and extended my family beyond mere
geographical or genetic bounds, I understand what it is to have my
heart leap with joy and trepidation for a couple in Brooklyn who I
hope will deliver a healthy baby(ies?) in the summer.  My holiday wish
is a positive pregnancy test for another New York couple who will make
wonderful parents.  And right now, at this very moment, I find myself
praying for the well-being and good news for a lesbian family in Utah.

When you think about keeping things together for your family, it isn’t
always the obvious family members that you are thinking of.  And sometimes it’s those that are furthest away that are holding the biggest pieces of your heart.


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