I started composing this post on my way home from O’Mama’s house after practically gorging myself on potato latkes.
It WAS going to be a post about traditions and observances and all of the wonderful excuses we (and not just the O’Mama family and the Chili family, but we as a general observation) make to get together and enjoy one another.
What it’s turning out to be, though, is a brief rumination into the way I think and feel about my connections to others.
A very long story short is that, every once in a while, I get to feeling insecure about my lack of, what shall we call it? Roots, I suppose. Though I still do not, even for a second, regret having sawn myself off of my (twisted and diseased) family tree, I do sometimes feel anchor-less – and before you get all up in my stuff (ehem…Laurie!) let me finish.
I feel this more acutely around the holidays, though I suppose there’s no really good reason for that other than the hype and societal expectations about what the holidays are supposed to be about. The fact that, every fucking year, my mother-in-law manages to work in some crack about my “family” doesn’t help much, but there’s something about the holidays (and everyone scurrying around to visit their families) that makes me feel a little left out (and, truth be told, that was a big motivation behind my campaigning to get Christmas at Chez Chili; I wanted to create an environment my sister could tolerate because I really, really wanted to be with her on Christmas).
I guess I’m thinking about this even MORE right now for a couple of reasons; first, I’ve spent quite a few hours in the last few days researching my biological ancestry and recognizing that I don’t feel any kind of connection to the people who came before me. I know that a lot of people do genealogical studies to feel more grounded, more sure of who they are and where they come from. It didn’t work that way for me; in fact, I probably would have preferred to investigate my adopted family more. THOSE people mean something to me; the ones on the genealogical chart are just the means to my end.
I’m also suffering from occasional bouts of adrift-edness over the death of my mother. I really wasn’t ready to lose her; I feel like I was just heading into a part of my life when I’d really need a mother, and I’m struggling now and then with the feeling of being really on my own, especially when it comes to being a mother myself. There are others I can lean on, though, so I know I’m not alone, but every once in a while, I get little flashes of “it’s all you now, kid! Good luck with that!.“
Finally, I had a nightmare about my biologicals last night, and I’m pretty sure that’s contributing to my musings about being included in my friends’ traditions (though it also reinforces that the parental energy is something I really don’t need in my life).
For all of that woe-is-me, motherless child crap, I do recognize that I have a wonderful, strong, close-knit bunch of chosen family, of which the O’Mama clan plays a major role (and I feel compelled to include Sphyrnatude in this collection, as well; he matters more to me than I ever expected he would when we first met). I’m almost taking for granted that I (and, by extension, my family) are welcome to certain of their celebrations – most notably the Passover seder and the annual latke madness. There is something incredibly affirming about that for me, especially this week. I know I belong, and that matters.
(photo credit goes to O’Mama. I sent her a text asking for a picture of THE latkes, and she got right on that. She’s really cute in her adoration of her new phone…)