“To My Daughter on Mother’s Day,” the card she handed me said. My mother looked glamorous wearing the scarf and necklace I gave her for Mother’s Day. We were sitting in the kitchen as we do when I visit. Coffee cups and the newspaper spread out. How thoughtful she is; such a wonderful person. I’m the only non-mother in the family and she wanted to include me in the day’s celebration. The card made me feel a little sad. Although it’s not like it’s a surprise, the fact that I’ve got no family of my own. But holidays seem to magnify these feelings that are pushed to the periphery.
I love my family but there’s something about spending time with the whole group that leaves me feeling more alone than I normally do. Divided into their separate families, they are all involved intimately in the drama of daily lives and I’m just outside of it. It’s not like I don’t feel connected. I do. What happens to them matters to me. What happens to me matters to them, too (but not as much. Not the way what happens to them matters to them). I’m the only one of my kind when I’m with them, an exotic, an alien, a foreigner, a stranger. I imagine I am food for gossip, with my break ups and ongoing search for love.
When I’m among friends, musicians, single people, others who have lives like mine, or home doing all my comfortable alone things (working on music, reading, running, working in the garden) I don’t feel lonely. Or mostly, I don’t feel lonely. Sometimes I feel selfish because I have so much time to myself and can do pretty much whatever I want. Sometimes I just feel peaceful and occupied with all the things I like to do.
I’d like to have my own family. I think I would. I’m not sure how to go about it. I don’t understand myself so well, despite all the years of introspection, therapy, and writing about every little thing. There are moments when the problem comes into focus and I think I can change it, but then it slips back under its rock and the reasons seem mysterious.
D and I are talking again. I make a family with him, somehow. It’s kind of an indescribable thing. I’m not sure what it is between us that makes it feel that way. Love, maybe. No matter what we say or how we try to leave it behind, it just is, a deep connection between us full of humor and understanding. Sometimes I feel he is all the family I need, but of course that’s not true, either.
I make a family with Paul (today is his birthday!), who is as much my brother as my blood brother, also a dear, sweet man, my first friend. And I have a great brother-in-law who is warm and bright. I have two sisters, my beautiful younger sister, who touches me so, and my sister-in-law. She is strong and steady. Their children are as much mine as any children will be. (Brayden, age 4, informed me yesterday that he will make me a necklace like his mother’s at school on Aunt’s Day.) And I have my Dad, too. He had a stroke almost a year ago, and is doing much better.
My friends are many, spread out all over the world. Kim (her birthday is today, too! May 12th. What a day!) has been my friend for so many years. We still speak all the time although she’s lives in L.A. We compare notes on everything. If I started listing the names of friends, I would leave out too many. I’d be like those actors accepting awards, unfolding paper from pockets, who still forget to thank the most important one. I am blessed, truly.
And life is long. Anything could happen. I could still marry, could still find myself someone’s mother. In some way or another, it may happen. You never know.