Friday, May 27, 2005

For the Love of Family

I've met hundreds of families. As a matter of fact, I didn't just meet a lot of them, I joined with them, delved into their secrets, disected them, and put them under a microscope. I was their helper. Sometimes, I was their last hope.

I was a crisis level family therapist in three of my past jobs. When everything was falling to pieces, I was the one who was called. I showed up on the family's doorstep at any time of day or night because if I didn't, something really, really bad would happen.

I had two goals:
1.) Prevent child abuse.
2.) Prevent the children from being removed from the home.

Imagine the panic ... the horror ... the powerlessness. What if your life got so out of control that someone outside your family had the power to take your children away from you?

Sometimes it needed to happen. Sometimes the wounds created from ripping a kid from the only family they'd ever known was the lesser of two evils. You know the stories. There are some really fucked up adults who do some really fucked up things to kids. I'm not going to tell you any of the gory details. It would ruin your day.

Sometimes things worked out well. One of the first kids I worked with in the program for runaway and homeless youth, decided to return home because he said that I was "meaner" than his Mom. That made me happy. It made his Mom happy too. She and I had lunch afterward and talked about the little dipshit, and how he'd gotten too big for his britches and just needed a little taste of reality. That was a rare situation, but one that I treasure.

Some of us are lucky. We're born into really great families. For the most part, I'm one of those people. I also enjoy a family who holds a value on openness, generosity and hospitality. While I was growing up, more often than not, other people were living with us. Amongst my cohabitants: a secretly pregnant aunt, a teenager my Mom brought home from work because her Dad beat the shit out of her, and a host of foreign exchange students.

Other people who didn't live with us have also attached themselves to our family. They're often folks looking for the open welcoming nurturance that families are supposed to provide for their members. We all want the unconditional love that you can't get anywhere else.

My Dad got very sick very fast when I was 26 years old. It was some sort of rare pneumonia. I was with him that day and I took him to the ER thinking he was having a heart attack. It was noon on Christmas Eve. By midnight the Intensive Care nurse told us he probably wouldn't make it through the night. Thankfully he did make it. In the mean time, the "family-only" visitors room was filled to capacity. At one point, there were 3 men between 25 and 27 years old, all named David, who claimed to be his sons. I've said it before, it’s amazing what people will buy if you look sincere and maintain eye contact.

Right now I'm here in North Carolina with JT and Mark. My parents are here as well, and my youngest sister will be arriving tomorrow. These two beautiful men are surrounded by their family as we celebrate their life together. There are a few fantastic and supportive blood relatives, but most of us are the other kind of family. We're the kind of family that earn the right to be family because we do the things that families are supposed to do. We love one another no matter what ... and forever.

Congratulations on your wedding JT (Jodi) and Mark.
I love you, I'm proud of you ... ... ... and I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but you're stuck with me forever.


At 10:21 AM, Blogger Larry Jones said...

We should all be so lucky.

At 8:19 PM, Blogger Maverick said...

You're right, some of us are lucky. Even if things are not perfect, we still have a stable upbringing, and that we should be more thankful for. We at least equipped to deal with what the world throws at us, for the most part.

Congrats to your family, and a big "hands ups" to all families out there.

Spitting in a Wishing Well

At 9:50 PM, Blogger Blazngfyre said...

I agree with Larry ..... we should all be so lucky.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, you're one awesome Hot Chik T!

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Tiger said...

Me too (adding my aggreement to the previous notes)...
You are so the Queen of Hot Chiks. xxoo,

At 9:42 PM, Blogger Opaco said...

can you imagine the world if all kids had wonderful homes to grow up in?


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