When I was very young and stupid, and even when I was not-so-young and stupid, I thought nothing of pulling up stakes and moving to a strange city. I had the peculiar notion that I could simply uproot myself, transplant my life, and thrive anywhere I happened to land.
What I have learned is that it just doesn’t work. If I am a rose, I simply can not plunk myself down in the middle of a cactus patch and expect to be happy. Maybe some flowers are different, but for me, I need family. I need roots. I need to feel connected.
All of this has been becoming crystal clear to me for the past couple of days. Art and I came back to Connecticut in order to connect with his side of the family. His parents are in the middle of a very emotional move. They’re leaving the ancestral home of forty-eight years – It’s just time for them to consolidate a little. To live in a less demanding environment so that they can relax a little. And while there is ample reason for them to make this move, it is nonetheless extremely difficult for them. At the same time, Art’s brother is facing a serious health challenge. How could we not be here? Finally, we are in the process of buying a condo here in Connecticut so that we can spend more time with Art’s family. For most of our married life we have lived in Los Angeles, and this has been wonderful for us – especially since my mother and two sisters and their kids live in L.A. But it has meant that Art’s family gets short shrift. Neither of us wants that – so here we are.
Today we spent the day packing boxes and lugging them out of their old house. We spent hours just sitting at the trestle table in my in-laws’ kitchen talking about anything and everything. We took out pizza for dinner from the Italian restaurant across the street. It’s been a hard day, in some ways, and to tell the truth, I’m pretty wiped.
But I just want to say this – Family is not something you are born into; it is something that you create with your heart and your hands. What makes people family is not blood ties. Blood ties just create genetics. To be truly related as family requires many small acts of kindness. If you think about it, your mother, your father, your aunt, your sibling, are not important to you because of an accident of birth, but rather because they made you chicken soup when you were sick, or because they took you to a Twilight Double Header, or because they let you cry when you needed to.
Family is a blessing. I’m tired, but I’m happy.