I dont believe in making resolutions at New Year's. I'm lame and after a few days of effort, give in. I have no will power. So, instead, I've decided to pick 2 things that I'd like to work on in 2010 (and beyond). They are big goals that cant be accomplished in a year, so maybe I can give it a try...
I'd like to have more self control. Lumped into this is trying to tame my Irish temper (poor Peter would really appreciate this I'm sure) and have the fortitude to actually make it to the gym 3x a week. Secondly, I'd like to learn more patience. Unfortunately, my mom making me open and shut the door (I'd just slammed) a hundred times to give me "patience, a virtue YOU dont seem to have" (imagine that in a sufficiently MOM sounding voice) didnt accomplish much (save a desire to slam the door when she wasnt within earshot). Neither did copying Bible passages when I smarted off (although I do credit her with my love of religious studies, so I did gain something there, if not the intended patience). So... Those are two things I think I'll keep in mind this year, with the hopes of having a little more self control and a bit more patience once 2011 hits... We shall see...
I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, ever since my mom and grandmother visited in mid-November. It's been sloshing around in my head for a while and I just havent been able to put it together. Then I read a post from Donna and my mom called to tell me something (see below) that made me realize I really should write this post and get it out there.
It's no secret that I'm adopted (well, maybe to some folks it is). So, my mom calls me yesterday (or the day before, I dont remember... days seem to run together) and tells me that a coworker was looking at a picture of the babies and I, and couldnt stop gushing about how much my mom and I look alike. Mom, being Mom, thanked her and smiled (and then called me!). Tickles us both pink, although I feel bad that folks think my mom is old enough to have a daughter my age... She's really quite young for that! But I digress... Back to the why I wanted to write this post...
When Mom and MaMaw were visiting, we were discussing the coloring of the kids, that Maya is so light and Bobby has a more olive complexion. I was about to say that he inherited Peter's Greek/Puerto Rican complexion when my grandmother busts out with (to Bobby) "It's because you take after the Indian side of the family" (by Indian, I mean Native American, Cherokee to be more exact). This opened a conversation about the different NA tribes in our family, but most of all, it really hit a nerve.
Growing up, I always felt different. Mamaw and my Aunt Shirley were probably the two matriarchs that made me feel most like I wasnt different at all. They rarely, if ever, brought up my adoption and used to say things like I took after Aunt S because I burned toast (an inside family joke). Their children (my aunts and cousins) never treated me any different because we didnt share biology. But, for whatever reason, the thing that always stuck out to me were the people who did. Why their opinion mattered so much I will never know, especially when I was surrounded by people who didnt care how I was born and came into the family any more than they cared what color socks they put on for the day. I was family and that was that.
As much as I thought I'd put the whole "I'm adopted" thing, as it relates to feeling different or out of place, behind me in a way, it wasnt until Mamaw said that Bobby took after our Cherokee family that it really hit me. No one else thinks about it. No one else views me "that way". To them, I'm family. I'm a granddaughter or a niece or a cousin. My children are, of course, their family. And not just in some loose sense. In them, they can see some great-uncle somebody or great-great-great grandma's nose. And it makes perfect sense. Because they are family.
Of course I look like my mom. She's my mom. I have her mannerisms and share (some of) her likes and dislikes, although I think I have more of an attitude problem than she does. :) And, of course, Bobby takes after the "Indian" side; why shouldn't he? (And, just as a postscript, Native American tribes are well known for adopting children into tribes and those children weren't viewed as any different from children born into the tribe). So, maybe I'm lighter in skin. But, if Bobby and Maya have taught me a small thing, it's that a strawberry blond, blue eyed, ivory skinned little girl can have a dark skinned, purely PuertoRican grandmother... And an olive skinned, brown haired and eyed little boy can be born from a very light skinned mother. Looks mean very little- and these kids have half of my genetic make up.
Combined, our family has people from every background and from every continent, save Antarctica. And we are all family. Some of us married in. Some were born from the womb and others from the heart. But that is just one thing, like our eye color or our hair color. It's our love that makes us family. The rest... Just an adjective to our noun.
Who would have thought that, after all this time, it was me that didn't really get it.