What does your family look like?
The whole “nuclear family” concept of a married cisman and ciswoman raising their biological kids, all other relatives distant, is a really new concept. Until recently– and this is still de rigueur in many countries– multiple generations and siblings and siblings’ kids all lived together. Resources were pooled. There was always someone to watch the kids while other adults did laundry or worked in a factory or worked in fields or hunted or made dinner or whatever. The “modern” life so many of us lead is an isolated one, and a fragile one.
I did something to my knee on Tuesday, something painful enough that I almost didn’t make it home. I’ve been hobbling around ever since. I’m improving each day, and now that I have a cane I’m walking almost normally. But I’m not up to walking Niko to and from school. Luckily for me, G is here to handle that.
G is a friend of ours. I’ve known him for over ten years. He lived with us for 2 years previously, an arrangement that ended only because he got head hunted for a sweet job on the West Coast. He’s an artist (you may have played video games he’s worked on) and he’s been doing a lot of freelance work lately which means he’s at home all the time and available during the day for boring personal errands like picking my kid up from school half a mile away. It’s really nice knowing that I can rely on him.
My parents live an hour away, at least, and both work full time (or more). One of my brothers is in the Marines and the other actually lives close to us but is super busy with work and music. Nesko’s family lives a mile away, but his dad’s out of state taking care of something, his siblings all work, and his mom doesn’t have access to a car because we’re borrowing it while Nesko’s car is in the shop (it’s been out of commission for about a month and $3k so far).
If G wasn’t here, how would I get my kid to school? He’s 4, there’s no way he could go by himself. There’s no busing. I don’t think any of his classmates live close enough to him to walk. I could ask a friend of mine for rides, but his kid is also in a half day afternoon program that starts and ends the same time as Niko’s but at a different school. So what? A series of expensive cab rides? Just keeping him home?
Our family is made up of a mama and a tata and a child and G. It’s a good family and it feels right. It feels supportive and loving. We’re all born into families but as we grow and mature we create our own families as well. We build relationships and tend them and nurture them. We support each other. G and I aren’t related by blood but we’re still family and I love that. I’m glad that we’ve been able to build something like this. I’m very glad that I’m able to rely on him.
I’m very lucky that I have the friends that I have, and I’m also lucky that I have the family I have– the family I was born into, the family I married into, and the family that we’re creating.
What does YOUR family look like? Are you close to your parents? Do you get along with your in-laws? Do you have a multigenerational set up? Are you part of a hippy commune? What works for you, what needs work? I’d love to hear how you handle your life.