Family is Unorthodox

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My family is small; just my parents and my younger sister and I. Four very strong personalities, who at times have difficulty being in the same room together, yet still have an immense love for each other.  Family was a complicated ideal for me. One I had tried to perfect and control for as long as I can remember, because everyone has a family like the ones on TV … right?  It is an ideal that I believe is deeply ingrained in our collective psyche. But there came a day, very recently, when a realization hit me that family isn’t just what you were born into, family is what you make of it. Family is unorthodox.7b35237df450237315b94b28f4ec1f9e

Normal has always been a strange concept for me. My life has hardly ever resembled anything like normalcy.  Often times explaining my childhood to people is much like that of a comedy routine.  My parents were always surrounded by their friends when I was growing up. At times our family resembled an island of misfit toys, we had roommates (a story best told on its own), “adopted” siblings, and countless friends that would convene on the front porch in the evenings. Unbeknownst to me this pattern of enhancing our 4 person pack was teaching me how to build a family, a real life tutorial on how to build my tribe.  After my dad’s coming out, the the dynamic of my family shifted. It began to course through me that I needed to craft my own path. Perhaps it was watching my own family in pain and feeling that pain so deeply that, in turn, I was able to open my heart up so far and wide to those I choose to love. Love is something I have.

Ten years ago I was lucky enough to marry to a wonderful man named Eduardo and almost eight years ago we had our incredible daughter Camille. We spent many great years and weathered many storms together, however earlier this year our marriage came to an end. For a lot of people this would be the end of the story but for us it’s not. He still is my nearest and dearest best friend and co-parent to our wonderful daughter. I believe this is the true testament of what building a tribe is. Even though things don’t work out as planned, the ability to modify, adapt and accept things as they are win out.  Eduardo and I have crafted our very own unorthodox family, one who still spends holidays together and are committed to raising our daughter with the same love and mutual respect we had before.

My tribe doesn’t end there. There are various levels to this chosen family, some are incredible friendships and others are soulmates. All of them are my tribe. I have been extraordinarily lucky to have a built an incredible support system on the foundation of doubt that my family alone could meet all of my emotional needs. From sister friends, to troublemaker partners in crime, to the one who I swear is my sister from another mister, and life partners who adopted me as their own in the 9th grade. You are my family. Because that’s just exactly what ‘family’ is to me, the wacky, loving, crazy, caring, people you choose along your life’s path. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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