Family is Family

I am not particularly close to my blood relatives. The distance has become so ingrained and so natural that I was actually, honestly suprised when my parents very easily said that they would fly across the world in order to attend my wedding. My father hates to fly. I have not forgotten that about him, and my mother has never left the country except for quick border hops into mexico and canada back when they did not count as actual excursions from the United States. I had an expectation that they would think about it for awhile and ultimately the trip would be too much for them, and they would just wait for me to come home in a year or so in order to meet my fiancee. They suprised me though. Within a week they had applied for passports, bought airline tickets, and started a packing list. They searched through my left-behind luggage that has been carelessly stored with them for years to find my grandmother’s wedding ring and my prom dress. They have offered to help in any way that they can, including paying for hotels for me and my fiancee when needed. It has been an overwhelming show of love and support, and I have been truly touched.
My familial identity has never been an easy one. From a very young age I was the black sheep of the family. My brothers were more outgoing, and more like my parents. I was this far-off dreamer that, really, very few people could reach. I was a stubborn child, not in any loud or rebellious way, but in a way that made it difficult to form those connections that I see my friends valuing now. When I was 18 I moved out, and I more or less never looked back. I like to think that my parents are proud of me. I like to think that they talk about their daughter who is out travelling the world and serving in Peace Corps, and getting her degrees, and living life out on her own. But even when I hear them say that at least when I don’t call they know they did something right, because I don’t need them, I hear a twinge of hurt and longing in their voice… wishing that their little girl was still 12 and under their roof, and needing them.
Something happened last night in my family that is altogether tragic. I won’t go into details except to say that my family has known its fair share of tragedy and bad luck, and this is among the milestones. It made me realize that my parents are really all right. They are filled with love and compassion, which are some of the more important traits in life.
This jolt in my life shook me into the reality that I am really starting a family with Nikola. It makes me wonder how most families start. Are they intentional? Are they aware? Are they fueled by love or some sort of need? For a moment I skipped a breath and wondered if I am doing the right thing. It is so hard to have a positive familial experience in the world. But then he held me, and kissed me, and I realized that I was just being silly. We are very much in love, and two very loving, considerate, caring people. We are both excited to start a family (the family of the two of us, but yes, there will be little ones added in the future.) and I don’t think I need to concern myself with disaster. He is an amazing person and I refuse to question my own self based on my past. The person I am now is altogether ready for these deep, rich, lifelong connections.

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