As with virtually everything else these days, I find myself asking "how do I feel about this?" (And if you're wondering what n hell I'm talking about, click here.)
How do I feel about this family...this exponential family...the sort of family that seems to keep expanding, like an engineer's folding ruler, the kind that clicks and clacks and pinches your fingers when you play with it. In a world of multiple marriages, half my aunts and uncles and all of my siblings are half-blood. Cousins sort themselves somewhere in the 60/40 range. It's like a chain of clothespins, the clippy kind, and the chain you make when you attach them one to the next isn't straight -- instead, it veers off in one direction or another, the symmetry of the connection always 50% off-true. It's not that there's anything unusual about this, anymore; though the sheer size of my family is a bit overwhelming, and I hardly get past the marriages and children by siblings and nearest cousins before I'm hopelessly lost. Thus my son spent his first five years in daycare run by my mother's youngest sister, who is the same age as my husband; and at least two of my boy's playmates were the offspring of cousins. Now another aunt has entered into the daycare business, with Aunt D, and consequently my grandmother's house (which Aunt D inherited) is as full of children and family as ever it was when she and Grandpa were alive.
Meanwhile, my sister has just married for the third time, a surprise JP wedding, to a fellow who has a little girl my niece's age from his previous marriage.
And I myself am struggling in my own marriage, my first and only, clinging simply to the idea that my husband needs me and my son needs a stable homelife. I come from a long line of female philanderers, in case you were wondering, and it's a thought that plagues me from time to time. I have one child, and still want another, though the official decision was that we would not. At some point you make so many accommodations that you begin to wonder who you are.
And I do wonder, almost continuously now. And so, having a new branch to the family makes me feel, in a way, somehow even more diluted than before.
And yet, Aunt D is really happy, and I'm so glad for her -- I'm grateful that she owns another piece of her story, that she has become perhaps more solid for it. I hope it continues to nourish her, that knowledge. It's remarkable really.
I miss my father -- I'm envious of Aunt D too, I think. Though I had in fact a GREAT deal more time with my biological parent than she with her own. I just wish I could talk to my father's children, share stories the way Aunt D's new siblings will hopefully share them with her.
What road is this? Where will this mood lead?