"i went through a lot last weekend when j's nana died, because i was family in private, but a roommate in public, and it was hard to know how i fit in with them and what to do. of course there's also awkwardness over how it feels to consider fitting [with his family] at all.
I know alone. I know what it feels like and, whether or not I'm comfortable in it, I'm used to it."
yet, yesterday was the first time in a long time that i said "happy father's day" and got to mean it. i said it looking into the face of j's father, and i saw joy in his eyes and it made my heart swell and it makes me cry now. because this wasn't supposed to be the way my life went. i wasn't supposed to believe in the family unit anymore. i had mine once, it's gone, and my ride ends there. but it doesn't because all of a sudden there's family cookouts and dinner tables and family farms and i belong...
i never saw this coming. and i feel so lucky and so loved.
it's not perfect. they still have a ways to go in dealing with the fact that they ended up with a son, not a daughter. they're dysfunctional as shit. they're very very different from me, and what i have known...
and you know what? i kind of like it. j's mom is not a bullshitter. she's polite of course, but she doesn't so much say what she doesn't mean. and yesterday, she gave us [me] her gorgeous childhood jewelry box. she also presented me with her mother's paints and brushes and canvases because i would appreciate them and "do them justice." i cried, i was so touched and humbled.
j's family has been there for us in so many ways over the past few years, and i am blessed to have them in my corner. they have taken in the proverbial redheaded stepchild and made me feel accepted and one of them, and they will never know what that means for the girl who never got that from either father's family. i thought it was me. i thought i was unworthy, and no, it's just that i had to wait for it.
i was walking out by the pool yesterday in my sunglasses, heading toward the family father's day grilled steak dinner and i saw myself from above, and thought, girl, what are you doing here? do you know how lucky you are? you couldn't have gotten in with better people.
and it isn't about the money. it isn't about the pool (although that helps!) or the deluxe accomodations we have when we stay there. it's the way that j's dad makes sandwiches for me, takes me on tours of the land, goes to my appointments and never ever judges me. it's the way that j's mother talks honestly in front of me in a way she won't in front of most people, the way she cheers me on as i continue to take on The Man, the way she shows me all her sparkly bedazzled craftyness and looks actually excited when i respond like a girl, because her son never has, and in that moment, i think she gets a little of the joy inherent in this situation. it's the way j's grandfather (and especially the grandmother we just lost) know who i am and without saying a word, accept something that they may never understand.
it's about something i haven't seen in YEARS: keeping the family together in spite of our differences, because it is so important. i have a lot to learn, and i will suffer disappointments and sadnesses because, surprise, this isn't perfect. it's just that they are trying, which is more than i've seen in years.
it's about love.