Tuesday, June 3, 2008

family trees (or flow charts)

Answering questions about my family can be complicated at times. I may introduce someone as my cousin & get "oh, I can see the family resemblance!" Well, you're wrong. There really is no family connection. But that's not any of your business & I don't want to explain it. Not at that moment anyway. My cousin might actually be my brother & sister's cousin, and not technically mine. Personally I'm not a big fan of technicalities.

Families are complicated. Not like how they used to be.

Technically, I am the only off spring from the exact combination of my biological mother & father. But to say that I have no full brothers or sisters, as the politically correct term, is just bull shit. Family is what you make of it. If you go around calling everyone one your half, step, in-law, former, or whatever correct term may be, that's all your going to end up with. A bunch of half, almost, kind-of-sort-of crap.

All of my brothers & sisters have other brothers & sisters that I'm not biologically related to. Some of whom I grew up with as brothers/sisters, and some I have only met in recent years as adults.

The family I grew up with as a child is not the same family that I have now. My mother & adopted father divorced when I was 13 & I have not spoken to the adopted side of the family until this year - almost 15 years later. We'll call this side family A. I met my biological dad & older brother when I was 13, the same year I was emancipated. We'll call this family B. I consider everyone in both family groups to be my family. Well, mostly. I guess I could make a few exceptions :)

Then there's the complication of me being in the middle. Solo. My mom had five children. Two by her first husband. Me (never married my dad). And then two more by her last husband. There are 10 & 11 years between me & my oldest siblings and 5 & 6 years between me & the youngest siblings. That's a whopping 17 years between the two sets. And me in the middle.

The oldest set have younger brothers & sisters through their dad's side of the family. And it's the same with the youngest set. The older set & the younger set don't really communicate much. I do a lot of running back and forth, relaying information about how each "side" is. But really I just want everyone to be one big unit. Is that too much to ask??

Now, my children are going through the same exact issues. They have brothers & sisters everywhere. In several different states. Some older. Some younger. Some in pairs. Some solo. Some that know & some that don't.

I speak from experience: Reproduction should be limited :)~

As I struggle to keep my wits about me with family A, family B, older set & younger set, I can see that it will be the same for my own children as they now have extended, split, complicated family trees.

I hope that it doesn't take them long to figure out that family is family & love is love - regardless of the ties and stigmas that may come along. Enjoy what you have, every sweet moment, and every hard trial. Family is not only what you allow it to be, but also what you encourage it to be.

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