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Family Is What You Make It
by Matthew Chase
Well I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday! I myself had a pleasant day of conversation and catch up with the family, while eating myself silly! So let’s talk about family this week, and the different types of families one person can have. We all know about the way that children are conceived. If you don’t, please ask someone you know… Thank you.
So let’s see, I myself was born here in Vermont to a single mother, who sadly enough, couldn’t really afford to take care of me and my twin brother. (Yes folks, I’m a twin, but never to fear, we are fraternal twins; which means that we look almost nothing alike.) So, we were adopted by my folks. So already there is my birth mother, who holds half of our genetics, and then there are my parents… The wonderful people who wanted my brother and I.
This already puts me into two different families. Isn’t that neat? But the fun doesn’t end there! I also have quite a few surrogate families, and those are people that I feel close to, that offer a lot of the same comforts to me, but aren’t the people that I grew up with. It’s these families that I’d kinda like to focus on. What constitutes a real family? To me, family is the word for a group of people that care about one another through think and thin. Who constantly support one another, no matter what. So it doesn’t matter to me who is related to whom by blood or by legal paperwork. What matters to me are the bonds of friendship that suffer the strains of life over and over again. Those bonds are the hardest to break the longer they are kept. I have a close circle of friends that I consider to be a part ofmy family, and I’d love to share a little about them with you!
My “wife” as it were, is none other than the wonderful Jo. This is a woman whom I’ve known for going on ten or eleven years. It’s been great to get to know her and her family, whom I have grown close to as well over that time. We do, on occasion, have our differences and argue like any other pair of siblings or family members would, but we continue marching on and laughing all the way down the path of life together. I cherish her friendship, and can’t wait to see what real husband she winds up with. I recall there was a time when I used to deejay at a local club and she would come to help me sort through the music, and cover for me when I had to go pee. We had these really ludicrous dance routines for certain songs and I’m sure we looked like fools up there in the booth grooving away, but man were we having some great fun!
Jawa, or Josh, is a friend of mine I met while patrolling the streets of Burlington Vermont. We met at a queer youth group, and got along ever since. He’s one of the people I cherish most in this world. He’s hysterically funny, a great conversationalist, and a caring part of my surrogate family. I swear that in a different world, we’d have been lovers by now. He is the young man, who went riding through a blizzard with me for two hours to pick up my dog Bandit when I had first adopted him, and he remains to this day, Bandit’s other parent. I remember that day vividly because the dog puked in the car three times on the ride home… He’d never been in a car before! Jawa was a big help to me because I’d never owned a dog in my life, and there was many a time when I called him in a panic. I remember this one time; Bandit had managed to eat almost an entire pound of chocolate truffles:
-On a side note: he may have been lucky not to have died, but that dog was
I have spoken of Nick before in other articles. Most notably for the “Booger out the car window” U.F.O. story. I have spent over eleven years knowing this man and having some really great laughs along the way. I met him at a mutual friend’s house and from there our relationship just took on a life of its own. We have been chased down highways by phantom trailer trucks, swooped upon by snowy owls, spooked by cemetery specters, and otherwise harassed by the outside world, while comfortably seated inside a motor vehicle. Our relationship began with a road trip across the state, and one turned into two, and then the next thing I know, it’s eleven years later, and whammo! A person I just couldn’t do without. It’s weird how that happens in life isn’t it? Sometimes it just feels like I have only known him a few months, when truly, we’ve had so much fun that the years have flown by in a flurry of giggles and good scares!
These are just a couple of the people who have come to mean a lot to me and my life. I am always ready to listen to them and hear what they have to say. I respect their point of view even when I might disagree with what they have to say. This to me is an integral part of what family is. Respect, honesty, and love are a few of the basic components to any relationship, and sometimes when it comes to family, we forget that.
We sometimes take our families and the people we love for granted. It happens when we are just so used to having them around. I have had my share of friends toss my friendship away when I finally stuck up for myself when I was being taken advantage of and under-appreciated. I have caught myself a number of times taking certain people for granted. Even the three people listed here have suffered at one point or another by my occasionally flaky attitude. I have suffered from their in- attentiveness as well to be sure, but what sets us apart from your average fair weather friends, is that we can argue about it, yell, scream, and fight. Then go back to being jovial in a matter of minutes! Thus is the dynamic of family I guess.
I am happy to have the people in my life that I can call family, from my own nuclear family, to the extended family that I have created for myself. So I’d like to close by asking you to remember to thank those people in your life that you are grateful for. You’ve only got one life as far as we know, so make sure the people you love, know you love them!
I wish you happiness in the coming week. Thanks for reading this weeks