Friday, March 4, 2016

New Definitions

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 14 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

If you had to describe your family what would you say?

It was submitted by:

Oh what a week for me to get this prompt. I think I handled this with all the grace I could muster though. 


Family is a difficult subject for me. I need to be upfront about that from the get go.

I’ve talked about my family, or at least my old family in the past on a few occasions on this blog. I talked about my father…the hellacious childhood he put me through (and not just me) and the way I found forgiveness after he died, closure for lack of a better term, in the pieces of him I see in myself. And I talked about my estranged relationship with my grandmother who did nothing but bring me down as a kid and young adult to the point where it was no longer healthy to be in her life or have her in mine.

I don’t really talk about my family in the present because I don’t really know how to express the way I feel these days.

For the most part, I am estranged from most of my actual relatives, blood relatives, and I am okay with that. It makes my life easier not having to deal with all the drama that a family like that brings to the table, and really I am just not the kind of person who enjoys faux pleasantries on holidays. Love is a difficult thing to fake.

My brother, mother, stepfather, nieces and nephews are in my life, but those relationships are fairly limited. I see them on holidays and we get together once a week typically for a family dinner at my mom’s house, but even those are strained these days for a myriad of complicated reasons that, for once, I probably shouldn’t discuss on a public blog. I don’t want to make things worse nor do I want to hurt anyone’s feelings which is pretty much synonymous for exactly how things go on those weekly dinners. I show up, give hugs, stick to myself, and leave as soon as dinner is over. The tension is often palpable, and I leave feeling anxious and hollow and foolish for having stayed in this town for as long as I have.

But…oh thank god there’s a but…

My kiddo and I are our own family most of the time which often includes one of my best friends in the world, one of my only friends in the area. We have disagreements and tension like any family. The kid has an honestly gotten smartass mouth and he has a tendency to tell some fibs at times, and oh god is he such a little messmaker, but he’s my everything. There’s no strain in that relationship. Even on the worst days and in the worst moments, I want nothing more than to see him smile even if it meant barfing a glittery rainbow of unicorn shit at his feet for his amusement. We can name all the clich├ęs right here and now and they still wouldn’t hold a candle to that kind of love. It’s like nothing under the sun…no romantic love can touch that mix of protectiveness, nurturing, nostalgia for the baby days, pride, love, and adoration. Nothing. Not a thing. That love makes all the dysfunction and tension oft associated with the rest of the family a bit easier to swallow.

He’s not my reason for waking up every day as I have heard other parents say. The beauty of life itself gives me plenty of reason to wake up, make my coffee, and gaze out the window over the kitchen sink, mug in hand, relishing everything being alive has to offer—the little things like sun-dried sheets and maple syrup and cola candy and cats purring on your feet while you write. But, he makes waking up that much better and a fuckton more fulfilling.

Add in the best friend that makes me laugh and shares my love of movies and music (even if he should read more!!), someone to hold my hand when I need it and give me adult conversation about politics and social issues and a post apocalyptic landscape. He’s lovely and bearded and silly when I need it sometimes to his detriment but he puts up with me and knows how I take my coffee and what I can and cannot eat and what my favorite bands are. Perhaps it is unconventional, but family these days doesn’t have a normal definition to most of the population. Family, now, doesn’t have to come with traditional blood ties and a cookie cutter image of nuclear and extended relatives. Family is what you make it, the people you choose to surround yourself with and love unconditionally. Given that definition, I think, despite the madness of my blood ties, I am one lucky lady.


Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there: Baking In A Tornado The Bergham Chronicles The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Dinosaur Superhero Mommy Southern Belle Charm Not That Sarah Michelle My Brain on Kids The Lieber Family Blog Never Ever Give Up Hope Someone Else’s Genius Confessions of a part time working mom Spatulas on Parade The Angrivated Mom


  1. Sometimes the best families are the ones we make by choice

  2. Family is a touchy subject for many people. I am glad you have your son, and things are great between you guys! Add your best friend (and coffee), and life looks pretty awesome! :-)

  3. I think however you define family, removing toxic from your life and replacing it with love is the best we can do.

  4. Everyone else's comments say it way better than I can seem to formulate right now, but being estranged from my parents, I completely understand what you mean and love what you wrote here. <3

  5. Everyone has their own definition of family. It sounds like yours sustains you and gives you what you need.

  6. It has been said -- you can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. Lots to think about here. It is nice to know that your friends can also become your 'family.'

  7. I am all about picking your family. I have more dysfunction in mine than most too. I get that believe me!

  8. I know Carol mentioned the old adage " can't choose your family", but I call bullshit. I can't relate to the dysfunction side of the family relationship, but I know what it's like to choose your family - the people who are there every day, down in the trenches with you. And yes, sometimes that family is stronger than blood.

    1. I totally agree. Family is the people who are there for you when you need it most and who put up with you day in and day out. Blood ties definitely do not have define what family means