Saturday, January 10, 2015
If you're reading this, congratulations, you survived the holidays and have made it (hopefully) safely into the new year. I do believe that everyone deserves a round of applause for that. After all with travel, weather, various kinds of insanity, there are a great many things that can, and sometimes do, go wrong. The one thing that I have found is constant in life at those times is family.
When I say family, I don't always mean the people that you are related to by blood. I have a few different families. Most would call them social groups, and that's a valid name. But some are close enough that I do call them family. I spent my holidays with my parents and we had a very nice, calm, relaxed Christmas. Exchanged a few presents, made some great food, and had good and hilarious conversation. I learned of problems in our extended family and in particular one of us that I'm going to try to reach out to as much as I'd like to just let her go. But she is family.
Before I left though, I was in attendance at a party with friends. A few of these friends I have grown very close to over the past year. Close enough that soon I will be giving one a ride to pick up her car and then having dinner with her. This is the family that I've formed here in Athens. They're the people that I hang out with, go to dinner with, have late-night philosophical conversations with, and the ones that I whisper my secrets too and let them whisper their secrets to me. They're as close to me as the people I grew up with. They're the family of friends that I have gained here in Athens.
I hope that I will get to visit my family of friends in Columbus this summer. I spent nine years of my life there and the connections made there have refused to fade over time. One friend, who owns a book shop, almost never leaves my thoughts. And I know when I step into his shop we will probably pick up the conversation we were having the last time I was there. Sometimes it feels like I have never left once I find the people I knew for years. Recently, we've suffered a tragedy in our little close-knit family. And like all families, we are reaching across the lines of communication and assured each other that we are all still here. We are still family.
Later this month, my son, J, and his parents will be coming over to my parents' house for the "Christmas visit." It's been pushed back a little because of illness and problems in their family. But his mother assured me that they are looking forward to seeing us, and I do believe her. They have just had a difficult year, and I know it. My son lost two grandparents this year. And I know one was a much tougher loss than the other. I know one was expected and one wasn't. But like all families, they have bonded together to see each other through. His father and I have talked every month at the poetry readings. We hang out together afterwards and I get to hear how my son is doing on a very intimate level. And this is the family I have made with my son. I'm very lucky in this, and I'm no idiot, I know this doesn't always happen. But sometimes it does. It's different from every other family I've had. They're closer than friends. Yet not as close as family. But we share a life together. We share one life, J's life. We both watch him grow and am amazed by it every day. We are learning together what to do and what he may be one day. And this family I believe will always be a part of my life just as my blood family, my Columbus family, and my Athens family always will be.
Here's to you all and your families wherever they may be. Hug them tight, let them know you're there, and I hope you all know that no matter what happens in your lives, you are loved by someone.