By Rick Rose
FAMILY. Define it. Ask Yahoo! “A mom and a dad and 2 or 3 kids.” Wikipedia. “In human context, a family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children.” I’ll go with Wikipedia any day. Yahoo…too traditional.
As we grow older, we come to realize “family” is what we create, not what we are born into. For many of us in the lgbtSr community, we don’t have a wife or kids. We grew older during the years when the Moral Majority and the Religious Right told us what “traditional family” meant, and many of us lived on the margin. For all of us, though, I know are family.
Whether it is the greater LGBT community itself, or a body of friends, or a hand selected posse of our own blood relatives who love us, and who we love back, unconditionally…we have found our family and have defined it as we see it, no longer untraditionally. We have value; we add value. We are: FAMILY
Yesterday, my second great nephew Declan Flynn Anderson weighed in at 7lbs, 4oz. as the newest member of my family. Look how handsome this fella is. Congrats Stef and Drew, and Devlin, you have a new brother to love and be loved by. My niece, Stefanie’s, family is proof that I have a role in society with or without my own children. Along with her two boys and the other four whom I have, I am certain that the part I play in the life of my nephews and nieces has great value. Many socialists confer that there is no stronger relationship than that of aunt or uncle and nephew or niece as we can be “parents” and “friends” at the same time. This is: FAMILY.
Eva, my dear friend and powerful single mom, calls the unit that she, her son Ezra (who I also consider my “son”) and I have created: FAMILY. Blood ties or not, we love fully and freely, have affinity and affection for one another and have become a triumvirate that stands as a strong witness of the true meaning of family to any judge or naysayer. Eva and Ezra are first on my list of people to see now that I am home from two weeks of travel.
Over the last few days of visiting my best buddy Donna’s family in New Haven, CT, this German boy became Italian. Whether with Donna’s sisters or mother, who raised the three girls as an only mom, her niece and nephew, or with Donna’s lover, Lisa, it was clear that I had become a “blue-blood in residence.” I was part of a prolific, beautiful institution: FAMILY.
While chatting it up with Donna’s Mom and sister in the living room Donna grew up in nearly a half century ago, it struck me how far we have all come as a society. Donna’s niece and nephew sat at the adjoining dining room table where three generations of her family have dined as a unit bound by love. They were playing on their iTouches, enjoying each other’s company. Both of their father’s had lost their lives a decade ago. Her niece is be0ng raised by her mother, singly, in the apartment above. While in this part of the building, her nephew is reared by “Nonna,” Donna’s mom. Between these rooms, you could feel allegiance, safety, trust and protection. We laughed, played, conversed and eventually gathered together, as one, to eat when Lisa arrived: three gays, two single moms; three best friends, two straights, two too young to be sure; two widows, a gay divorcee, four orphans…however you slice and dice it…there’s no getting around our definition. FAMILIA.