Family… pretty much everyone knows what family is, right? The people you have a blood connection to, that you can be traced back to, blah blah blah. You know, the ones on birth certificates and marriage certificates and the ones you’re now related to because Aunt Jane married Bob the Builder so now you have Uncle Bob the Builder and now you’re all family.
Right. Whatever. That’s not how family works. Maybe in an ideal world the people you are connected to through blood and marriage would/could be family, but for a lot of people that doesn’t look like reality. We fall into that category. It took a long time to find a family we fit into. To find our people. Our tribe. Our family.
For whatever reason, reasons, etc, whatever we never fit into the family we were born in, on either side. Our bio dad, who is a great person, remarried after the divorce and we never really bonded with the step-siblings. We were never really part of that family although everyone was always kind to us. We just never belonged or fit in there. Our bio mother’s family always found us lacking also. Her husband’s family was also kind but we weren’t really family. Not one place that we were “supposed to” be welcome did we ever feel anything more than politely tolerated visitors. I suppose it didn’t help matters any that we never formed any healthy attachments with anyone due to ongoing sexual abuse at the hands of a stepfather.
The attachment issues ran deep. So deep that it kinda seems like we didn’t do the maternal bonding thing with the body’s own kids. If you’re dumb enough to translate that into us not loving them, you’d be very very very wrong. But we don’t feel like “mom”. I remember telling the husband just days after giving birth to one of them that it felt like a babysitting gig that was never ending.
When we moved here, we didn’t expect to find a place we really belonged. I dunno what we expected to find at all actually, except safety. Safety is huge, like major huge. So that was worth moving a couple thousand miles for but I don’t think any of us actually thought we’d end up belonging.
But we did. I mean we do. We have a family here. We have Aunt J, and Nana, and Papa. We have Mama and Daddy. We are celebrated and loved. We are expected, not just welcome, at everything. We are included, we are wanted… not tolerated. They are aware of all of us. They take us as we come, whoever happens to be out at the moment. We are met at the level we are at in any given situation. I could call Nana right now and tell her I need her and she’d figure out how to help. Right now though I don’t need help because I’m safe at home with my dogs and with youtube and this blog.
On the other side of the country we have family. We have our bio dad and step mom who are doing their very best to understand us. They love us, accept us, and help us fill in blank spots in our memories. They are getting to know and learn about our family here, and they are accepting them too. The body’s kids are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and so many people dedicated to them.
We found our tribe, our people, our family. We found them in support groups on Facebook, in blog posts, and in the friends and family of our people. We found that to some people, we are wanted, loved, and valuable. So they can hold that for us until we can see it for ourselves. That day is coming though. I’m sure of it.