Yesterday, my blog was about real families. . . I did not write it to upset anyone or to stir up controversy but it got a lot of responses on Facebook. I never want my blog to be negative. That’s not the premise behind it. I was upset at first but the more I have been thinking and pondering it all day, the more I realize that it was in fact a good thing because it sparked such a great conversation.
I have been thinking all day about what a “real family” is and I really think I despise the term.
REAL is defined as being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary. I have many, many friends and none of them are imaginary. They are very real in fact.
One of my friends is a widowed, gay dad of two “nonwhite” children. Another is a single mom raising a daughter with special needs. There are the gay women who live around the corner and their twin daughters -all white. There is my single white friend raising a biracial daughter. Another single mom friend of mine has two white children. There are also the gay dads and their son who was adopted from Vietnam. Two white couples that we are extremely close with each have two adopted “nonwhite” children. My list can go on and on.
On my Facebook page several of them told me how important the idea of what a real family was. They are tired of hearing things like, “are they real siblings”, or “what information do you have about their real parents. It makes them cringe and I don’t blame them.
One if them eloquently wrote, “We need to embrace change, embrace difference and embrace family no matter what we look like”.
Another wrote, “Family isn’t always blood, it’s your heart. You make yours anyway you can. I wouldn’t trade mine for the world”.
There is a wonderful book that I read to my Kindergarteners every year. It is by Todd Par and the title is “The Family Book”. The book shows that all families are special and everyone matters. Perhaps eliminating the word real when we talk about families is the first step in realizing that the most important part of a real family is love.