Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Home Comings or Home Goings

I waited a long time today to find out the NaBloPoMo prompt for the day and then, I didn't like it.  That's kind of how my day is going.   It's moving along in fits and spurts.  I was organized and moving and getting things done and then it sort of got stuck and became unproductive.  Not bad, just not busy checking off the to do list.

Anyway, today we were encouraged to write about the last book we returned to the library.  It was Son of a Witch.  Good book.  Enjoyed it.  It's part of the Wicked set.  I just didn't feel like writing about it and since it's my blog and the point is to write daily I'm not going to.

I've been thinking about and talking to friends about homecomings and home goings.  I'm thinking about them in the context of family, but not necessarily the standard family. 

When I say standard family I mean a married heterosexual couple with kids from birth. 

The thing is, that's not all that standard any more. 

There are a whole lot of variations on family.  All the way from the adults that make up the "top"of the family, the caregiver level down to the kid level.  The kids can come from all different places.  Adoption, previous marriages or unions that created kids, foster care, relative care, friends kids, in home day care and on and on.  There are all kinds of set ups these days.  College kids living at home.  3 generation families.  Sets of cousins.  People that just call each other family but have no blood ties.  Any which way around, it's dang confusing sometimes.

Here's the thing though.  We all have to figure it out and somehow keep it nice to keep the ties there and make it work. 

There is a balancing that happens. In a way, I'd say the closest thing I can put it to is the in-law relationship.  You don't necessarily have to love these people with all your heart, but you have to figure out how to like them and get along with them, because they're going to be a part of your life from here forward.

And that colors home comings and home goings.  Being a foster family, sometimes a home going is the happy ending and even though you've had conflict with this family for a while in regards to what is most precious, the person you jointly love, you figure it out and send them back while telling them all the good things about the "other side".   Sometimes it's a home coming, but it's a person with another home, another family--again, foster life--and the coming into your place is a home coming.  They are leaving parts of their past behind and coming into a new family, but it never means they forget or leave behind the first family.

It would be like if you got married and then simply said this new person is my family and the rest of you no longer exist.  That would be crazy.  Instead what happens is your family gets larger. 

It's the same in my world.  People come into my home as family and our world gets bigger.  We learn to respect and like the first family.  That first family counts and always will.  That first family is as much forever as ours.  We see the mutual loved person differently.  Our roles are different. 

I'm not sure what my point is today other than to say, families and people are complex and complicated.  Families are not what they once were, but that doesn't make them bad just because they're different or complicated.  A home coming or a home going will always be a happy and sad bittersweet thing. 

The beauty is in tasting both.