Extended family / Family / Kids

The Families of Our Minds

In a few days, we’re packing up and headed to the beach. I’m more than a little excited, as not only is this our first trip to the beach with n – this will be my first trip to the beach in over a decade.

It’s brought up a lot of unexpected feelings, though.

solokidonbeach

My family wasn’t huge growing up, but it wasn’t small, either, and we were close. Vacations were usually taken along with aunts, uncles, and cousins – often grandparents and friends, as well. At the beach, or wherever we went, there was never a lack of kids to play with (for better or for worse, for those of us a bit more introverted). In contemplating what we’d do during our trip, most of my friends said, “Just think about the things you liked doing at the beach as a kid!” But I don’t actually remember anything specific – it’s all a blur of people, and walking, talking, playing, laughing with THEM.

Siblings for n herself are still so up in the air, in a way that they wouldn’t be if we weren’t a same-sex couple. Both J and I wanted a large family, whether we’ll ever get that, I don’t know.

And I’d thought that bit through, I had. But I hadn’t given much thought to the fact that I’d, apparently, envisioned there being kids around anyway. I was, in my mind, placing her in the family of my childhood. With children and relatives coming and going, always somebody there to hang out with her, even if one of her moms wasn’t up to the task. And perhaps one day we’ll be able to bring some of her friends with us. Perhaps one day she’ll have cousins, too. But that day, may it come, is a long way off. My siblings are significantly younger than I am, and won’t be having kids for a long while, if at all.

The family of my mind is not the family of our reality. That doesn’t make it better or worse; it just is. She has family and friends who love her, and when we go to the beach, there’ll be plenty of things she can do on her own. We’ll make our own routines and our own new memories.

She’ll never know that she doesn’t have what I wanted her to have. To her this is normal.

It’s me who needs to get over it.

 

[PHOTO: POLLY PAGENHART]

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  1. Have a great trip and time at the beach. Yes, other kids around is great… but two Moms all to yourself is great in its own regard.

  2. I too have thought about this “family of the mind.” My kids, for better or for worse won’t have things that I took for granted growing up – people of their/my culture all around them, a big city with lots of diverse opportunities. I always imagined my mom would be there for them. But they don’t mourn these losses — I do. and so I’m slowly learned to get over it, until something new comes up. I get your pangs absolutely.

  3. Nothing wrong with normal if she’s happy. Have a great time at the beach!

  4. Have an amazing trip to the beach and have fun making those new memories with your family!

    My kids got to meet my mom’s family (the side of the family I grew up with) once before all heck broke loose when they discovered I am in a relationship with another woman. Now we’re moving 1500 miles away from the only part of the country I’ve ever lived in and where all of that family is located. They won’t have any memories of the family I grew up with, instead we’ll be building new memories with the family we choose. I am mourning the loss of what I knew and loved and wanted for them, but I’m slowly realizing myself that this new family they’ll be growing up with will be even better. Why? Because whoever is in our family from here on out will be made of people who love all of us just as we are.

  5. I’ll be thinking of you during your trip and I hope you have a great time. We have a large bustling family – but our kids are the only kids. It’s just a lot of (boisterous) adults at every holiday. I long for a house full of cousins for them to play with, too. I think my siblings are tired of the pressure!

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