In my small family, we have split up just for the weekend and gone off in different directions. My partner decided just a few weeks ago to attend a college reunion. It’s the first and only she has attended since she was in college many, many years ago. She went to a small Catholic women’s school just outside of Chicago and is back there this weekend with old friends, many of whom she hasn’t seen in over 30 years. She visited my mother who lives in Chicago, yesterday. In the realm of wild coincidence, a couple of years into my relationship with my partner (so 20 or so years ago), we figured out that the wife of my first cousin, before my partner had come to many family gatherings of mine where she would have seen for herself– was one of her college roommates. Small world. So she will be at her college reunion with my cousin by marriage, who is very much family to all of us– my partner, me, my mother, my sister, our respective children.
My daughter, as I have explained, has a brother twenty-two months younger than she. He is a wonderful, beautiful, lively, smart and loving boy. Just a little over two years ago our family learned that he has been born and adopted by a different family. He was at the time, six, and my daughter was about to turn eight. All of that is complicated in many ways and also quite, quite simple. These two only children in their growing-up second families, became children who were not “only children”, but children with siblings– after a phone call from our mutual adoption agency– telling us that they were closing their doors and that by the way, our children were siblings and if we all agreed they would connect us all. There is even much more to the story– but not for now. Three of the four adults involved met in the office of a trusted friend and counselor/therapist within days of this news– and the children and the four adults all convened within a month. It was most definitely love at first sight for them.
By further coincidence, N’s brother L– is also growing up in a lesbian family and our families became family to each other almost exactly two years ago. It was a remarkable meeting and it was remarkable watching the children take each other in with such ease and love and big hearts.
Though their birthdays are some months apart– both were adopted– that is to say met and became the children of their families– in early June of different years. So my daughter’s adoption anniversary has just passed and his is coming soon. They live in a suburb of a different city in an enormous, old, rambling house with many, many animals. We live in the heart of our city in an apartment that is big by apartment standards, but– well– very small compared to the house of N’s brother. They have pets– many. We have allergies and no pets at all.
This year when they invited us, for the third time, to their big June festival celebrating his adoption– I said sure. As it worked out my partner decided she wanted to go to her reunion, so my daughter and I made the several hour drive (we won’t say how many hours it was supposed to be and how many hours it was as a result of getting lost in the final leg…) last evening and arrived a little after 10:00.
We were greeted by L and his two moms, the two dogs– one large and one small, the four cats who live here and the six kittens they are fostering. I was lucky that they have a packed house with L’s special uncle in from out-of-town– and the only sleeping arrangements they could figure out involved L sleeping with his moms and N sleeping with me– rather than our usual arrangement where N leaves me completely in the dust once she is with her brother. We woke up this morning, talked and snuggled in bed– until my daughter had to go pee. When she returned there was a lively kitten with her– whose name I learned– is, Cloudy-with-a-chance-of-Meatballs. Kitten with five siblings, two siblings of the human variety– with two different families, two moms from our family in two different cities for two different kinds of celebrations, just the way I like it.