One of the levels of fallout from disengaging almost entirely with my family of origin has been the liberty and challenge of building our family life the way that makes the most sense for our actual family. When Carlos and I decided to build a future together, he told me, “we never have to be normal people, Rosie.” It was, without caveat, the most important thing another human has ever said to me.
We never have to be normal people!
Our life is not “normal,” and that’s the way I like it. We have the chance to pick and choose the things that make sense for our life, which makes us incredibly lucky. And, being true to who we are, we shape those things to be fit our life, rather than any other way around.
One tradition of other families that I have chosen to adopt full-force is Family Home Evening. Naturally, there is no prayer or hymns the way we practice, and the definition of “family” that we use would surely irk most Mormon elders. Family Home Evening as practiced by our family is likely to include conversations about consent, collaborative troubleshooting of people’s various relationships, and trading off toddler-harassing duties. All this, of course, bathed in the noise and laughter of adults coming together because we enjoy each other’s company, and bubbling over with the joy of knowing we are among our people.
Sometimes I find myself in an awkward position trying to explain exactly what was so special about a couple friends over on a Wednesday night, and I marvel at how my life has grown. We never have to be normal people, but we get to be true to the people that we want to be.