I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of family. It takes effort and grace to keep a family in tact. And of course, it takes love. Love is the glue. My first experience at creating a family was a failure before it began.
It was 21 years until I saw my first-born child. There were 20 Christmases, 20 Thanksgivings and 20 birthdays before I knew my son’s name or where he lived. Our reunion reverberated through his adoptive family and through my own family. By the time I met my son, I had a husband, and also two little girls who were surprised to learn they had an older brother. Yet somehow, we blended ourselves into a new family. I thought that family would last forever.
Or how about cement?
All of my children are adults now. We are living in the aftermath of my divorce from my daughters’ father. Now I’m thinking about the individuals that make up a family as bricks and stones that need regular shoring up to keep the walls from falling down. Each brick and stone needs a regular inspection. Some polishing, perhaps. And maybe love should be more like cement than glue.
This year my husband is not in the picture. Our marriage is a pile of rubble. I am picking up the pieces of what remains of our family. That means I will be traveling. This holiday season I will cross both a desert and an ocean with my youngest child in order to visit her siblings. Every mile will be worth it.
Birthmothers and lost children
As I lay on the couch at my son’s house with my oldest grandchild, the two of us singing Christmas carols in the dark beside the lighted Christmas tree, I noticed how our voices blended together. For just a moment in the midst of that joy of family love, I thought about the birthmothers who are still separated from their children. If they don’t know their children, they may have grandchildren who are also lost to them.