i have been mulling over the topic of family- for obvious reasons (see last post). i also read louise's post over at the sirens- and it ties together for me anyway. i am a child of alcoholism so i looked for family where i could find it. i wanted to run away from mine. my mom worked her heart out and raised my sister and i- and we are the three musketeers- because we had no extended family. her family was rife with petty jealousies and dysfunction- and my dad's family was well- alcoholic. but i looked around at my friend's families for 'normalcy' and i looked to see how 'normal' families behave- and i knew that that was what i wanted. no yelling or cursing. no put downs or misogeny. of course, that begs the question of what 'normal' is.
we have fought ad nauseum in this country about what a family constitutes. is it a dad, mom, and 2.3 kids? is it a mom and mom and 3.3 kids? is it a mom and 2 kids? a dad and 4 kids? 2 dads, a kid and 3 puppies? america has ideals of the way people should live- and the norman rockwell version is as alive and well as it was in the dan quayle era. in fact, here in binghamton, the west side neighborhood association argued with the city council over zoning laws- and what defines a family. landlords can't convert single family homes to rent to students in residential neighborhoods. so there.
i guess what i am trying to say is this- we need to get our heads out of the sand about family. the facade of happy holidays with extended family is real for some and not real for many. we all have knowledge of dysfunctional families and the harm caused- hell, it was my career for 12 years. i didn't have the cleaver family dynamic, but my husband kinda did. my buddy doesn't have either parent and makes her family with relationships with close friends. my other friend is raising her sister's 3 children in the family home with her mom and dad. many people have had family members die or divorce or whatnot. the little girl upstairs is a product of divorce and 'ran away' from home- down the stairs to my apartment. what i am saying is- we need to be the family folks need. family isn't just about genetics and blood relations. hillary took a wrath of shit for saying that 'it takes a village' to raise children- but it's true. where would the little kid upstairs run to if i wasn't willing to open my door? is america to be the orphan of the world? lord knows we are dysfunctional. i don't know that i really have a point. family is just something i was mulling over.