“There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. ”
― C. JoyBell C
I was a bit stumped with this month’s editorial and the subject of family. the dictionary archaically describes family as adults and children living together or people bound by a common bloodline or ancestry. Yet there are many people in my life who do not fit that criteria and whom I easily consider to be my family.
One of the most frustrating and rewarding relationships is the one I have with my ex-husband, the father of my daughter. As I write this I have in fact been trying to get him on the phone for a week but every time I call I get an out of service notice….this may be the 20th phone he has lost and it is not unlike him to go somewhat off the grid for weeks at a time.
We married young and on the day we signed our divorce I believed that in some way I was signing him out of my life. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Getting away from ‘husband and wife’ issues we suddenly faced the co-parenting issues that came from dividing up our daughter’s time between us. I don’t remember the first time we all sat down to dinner as this revised version of what a divorced family looks like, but since then, there have been many ‘modern family’ dinners, Christmas’ and birthday parties. When he called two and a half years ago to tell me that his longtime girlfriend was in labor there was no hesitation. We got in the car and drove two hours to the hospital to meet my daughter’s newborn brother. As we all sat in the hospital room I looked around at this mish mash of people and I thought ‘this is my family.’
I am so grateful for the way we have been able to transform our relationship. It has been far from easy and pleasant and there have been plenty of rough patches. But now that our daughter is away at school, we still speak regularly, sometimes have dinner and have truly solidified our friendship.
This month our writers take a look at family. Alvin Starkman explains the outdated, yet still functioning, concept of dowry while Julie Etra explores the legalization of gay marriage. Kary Vannice looks at Mexican gypsies and their difficult history. One thing the articles in the issue reassured me of, is that families come in all sorts of packages. So screw the dictionary! Families may be messy, they may be modern, they may not look like what we expected when we first learned about ‘family’ but if they have what JoyBell refers to as heart, then they are.
See you next month,