Family?

What is it anyway?

I grew up surrounded by my maternal family. From the time I was two until until I went to college I lived with my Nanny (great-grandmother). In the same house that she and her husband had bought over four decades before. My Gran-Gran (grandmother) grew up there. My mother and her sisters did as well. I was the third generation to call that place ‘home.’

And we were surrounded by my Nanny’s peers. Older men and women who had lived in the same place for their whole adult lives. Most of their children had grown up and moved away. But there were a handful of families like ours.

When Gran-Gran married her fifth husband (the only one we can say for sure was genuine as we were all there for the wedding), they bought a trailer and moved three houses down from us. My aunts didn’t live in that neighborhood anymore. But they both still lived in the same city. Until my mother’s middle sister got divorced, remarried, and moved all the way to Georgia.

Me? I have moved forty-eight times in my fifty-six years. Yes, you heard that right. I counted once. Back when I had a good memory. And considering, I spent sixteen years in that house, four and a half in our @HomeCrazzyHome, five in that dingy flat in London, and four years in the REAL Sebida. Well, that means I moved forty-four times in twenty-seven years. Yes, every six months on average. Which is about right, since that is a common lease length.

As for family? I haven’t spoken with my mother in eleven years. Or Googled to see if she was alive in a couple. I certainly have nothing to do with any of those aunts or cousins. I never knew my sperm donors side of the family. And my eldest daughter hasn’t spoken to me in almost five years.

Does any of that bother me? Do I feel like I am missing something?

Not at all. All those moves have taught me that home is an illusion. Even as much as I love our @HomeCrazzyHome, it isn’t from any sense of ownership or permenance. Even if I never moved again, this is just temporary. And I don’t believe you can ever own the land, only be stewards of it. No, I love this place for the space of understanding, acceptance, and respect that it holds. I can’t do nearly enough about injustice and inequality out there in the world. But here? Oh, hell, yeah. I can create a welcoming and inclusive space for all regardless of age, race, sex, gender, neurodivergence, and all the other things that divide us. That is HOME.

And family?

That one is a bit more dubious. Yes, Alan, @PanKwake, and I form a nuclear family based on those core values of understanding, acceptance, respect, and unconditional love (as close as we can get). Theoretically, I believe that family is the people of choice that you are closest to. And I have a couple dozen of those, perhaps more than any other time. But other than Alan & @PanKwake, there aren’t any that I would consider ‘twue’ friends. Though to be fair, some would think of me that way.

Honestly, these people, fictional though they may be are my best friends. Maybe that makes me truly Crazzy. But I’m good with that.

And all of ya’ll, of course, too. If anyone ever makes it to Wales, we definitely have to get together. Who knows, one of the things I’m planning is a huge roadtrip back home when I turn sixty. I want to hike the Appalachian Trial, do a tour of some of the places I’ve lived, including Drayton and Sebida, enjoy the beauty of the Red Rock Dessert and Sedona, then bike the Pacific Coast Highway. I am calling it my Wise Woman Celebration. The idea is to lay those question to rest and find that closure with ‘family.’

What about ya’ll? Who is family to you? The people who share DNA? Friends?

It isn’t just Lizzie that struggles with these issues. I think much of #ReconciliationTX is grappling with that concept of home, family, and especially those core values of understanding, acceptance, and respect.

If she remembered correctly, this was Jack’s cousin’s wife. And the older man was his grandfather’s brother? Jack looked nothing like his cousin, though.

Extended family had been a foreign concept to Lizzie until she came to Sebida. Growing up, it had been just her and her Mom, after her dad was killed in action. Even when Chris Monroe had first come into their lives, they had remained nuclear.

Of course, when they bought the restaurant and moved here, she had discovered that her step-father was related to half the town. Not that any of the Monroes other than Abby Jean claimed her. And now, it had been just her and Gareth for so long.

She knew that Abby felt like an outsider as well. While Miss Myrtle had been highly thought of in Sebida, even she was not close to her uncle’s side of the family. Bad blood was the rumor. Though no one seemed to know or be willing to say what exactly happened between the Judge and his brother to cause the rift. Heck, the Monroe family tree was more gnarled and twisted than the grand old oak outside the county courthouse. People said that tree was older than the Republic.

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