I feel we've lost something with our modern, nuclear families. Maybe it's my old world heritage. Maybe it's the fact that my older kids are my stepsons, so the idea of "blood relation" never even occurs to me. Maybe it's the fact that I have first hand knowledege about what it's like to not have the extended support system, and never want to be without it again. Maybe I was dropped on my head too many times as a baby. Who knows?
In any case, I can't limit my family just to those people that are related to me by blood, or by marriage. The closest I can come will be to list the people that get invited to Thanksgiving Dinner, Epiphany, and/or Birthday Parties. Because those of you reading this may get lost in the myriad of names, here is a guidebook ... a who's who ... so you can follow along and be a little less confised. Beware ... this is a very long post!
Each of the people below has stories for me to tell, and when I run out of things to say, you'll probably hear them. Not all of the stories are happy, or end well ... or even end at all. Some I'll have to get permission for before telling them online, as they aren't 100% my stories to tell. In any case I hope you stick with me and enjoy ...
Ethan (that's him in front) turns 14 next week. He's effervescent, bouncy, and all around fun to spend time with. He's learning to play the drums, the bells, the guitar, and the piano. In his spare time, he plays computer games, goes to Boy Scouts, and sometimes even gets to his homework. He's a great leader, and causes all kinds of trouble when he sets his mind to it. Fortunately for me, that's not too often.
Donald Christopher (Topher) will be 14 in April. He's the latest addition to our family. We have guardianhsip, but he's still living with his mother. He's a large part of the reason I decided to start this blog, as fostering a kidlet is something totally new to me, and I have a lot to work through. Just putting it down
on paper in pixels helps, even if nobody reads it.
Sylvia (who decided she wanted to be Abby from NCIS for halloween) just turned 11. She's one busy beaver. She does Girl Scouts, plays the Piano, and is a member of the Dance Team at Cascade Performing Arts here in town. When she's not in a car running from event to event, she loves to curl up under a blanket with a good book and simply read for the pure joy of the story.
Douglas is 9 and the most important thing is his life is to play with his friends and go to Cub Scouts. He's a Webelos Scout this year, looking forward to Boy Scouts just as soon as he can get there. He loves to watch TV, play on the computer (either my Linux box or Mom's Windows box...doesn't matter), and generally make a nuisance of himself.
Annika Rose is 6, and never home. She dances, does Girl Scouts, but most of all, loves to hang out with Bammy, my mother. She would gladly move in there if she could. Fortunately, they're only 2 blocks away, so she can spend as much time there as she likes (almost).
Kaleigh is our youngest. At 4, she's talking, precocious, and precious. She's going to pre-school, and loves to come home and share what she's seen, learned, and done. Being the youngest of 8+, she can be just a
ton bit bossy ... think of it as a self defense mechanism ;-)
And that covers the thermo-nuclear immediate family that I call mine, but wait ... there's more ...
Bammy & Adad are my parents. They moved to Lebanon just before Annika was born. They bought a house 2 blocks away from us. They are great to have around, wonderful with the kids, and we really appreciate having them here.
Carol Ann (Teke) & Mike are my Aunt and her new fiance. Teke moved to town the same time as Mom & Dad. She and Mike live at the edge of town, about 2 miles away, with their dogs and room-mates.
Alyson & Marjorie are my sister and her wife. Yes, that's right, and it's above board and legal. Up until a couple years ago, you see, my sister Alyson used to be my brother Daniel. They were married that way, and their love for one another has survived, even through a gender change surgery. They recently moved up to Portland, OR, about 80 miles from us.
Kimberlee is my wife's best friend. The met shortly after my wife had her miscarriage, and have been stuck like glue ever since. When her marriage fell apart, she and her 3 kids (Josh , Amber , and Walter ) lived with us while she got back on her feet. She went to school during that time, became a paralegal, and is now out on her own facing the world again.
Ashley is Adam's long term girlfriend. They've been dating for about 18 months now. Not only do I love her, but I love who my son becomes when he's around her. I hope she stays with the family.
Then there's Carolyn, Teke's best friend and an adopted memeber of the family. She always has stories to tell at parties, and makes mean onion rings ;-)
OK...that covers Oregon...but wait ... LOL ...
Kathy & Dean are my wife's understanding parents. They understood why we moved to Oregon, and they are understanding enough to put us up when we come down to visit. They have a son, Daniel, and a daughter Ginny, who's husband is Chris (too many of those around here), neither of which lives at home.
Carol Lee (Kiwi) and Rick are Teke's daughter and her husband, who live in CA still. We miss them terribly, and visit them when we can.
My mother's best friend, Phoebe, has already appeared in another post. She's the one that laughed at me when I lost my identity and became a parent.
There's more, and more, and more ... but these are the core of our existence. These are the people I turn to when my sanity, my well being, my very survival are at stake. These are the people I would lay down everything I have for, and would do the same for me.
Without these people, I don't think I could survive.