I originally posted this essay last year on Thanksgiving Day, and you know what? I still love it. So, in a rare "reprise" moment here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" here's what I still believe (with slight adjustments in this bold red):
Okay, this post has a soundtrack...
We Are Family (sung by Sister Sledge)
Grab or click it if you have it on your playlist or on an old CD (or heck, if you're a vinyl warrior, that's cool too.)
Or hey, go to itunes music store or one of the other online music stores and just play the free 30 second sample (a couple of times...) or buy it and download it right now!
Take a second, and put the track on...
And get in the Giving Thanks (Thanks-Giving!) mood...
We Are Family...
Okay, so you're born into one family - for good and bad, warts, sparkles, and all. It makes me think of the pre-school rhyme
"You get what you get and you don't get upset."
Actually, you DO get upset - getting upset - getting angry! - is a natural part of growing up! And what do you do? You find yourself making - CREATING - other families. And you'll continue to do that throughout your life, no matter the ups and downs of your relationship with the family you're born into.
Maybe it's Junior High when you start to make friends that's really YOU choosing and not just who lives near you, or whose parents like your parents - you're starting to feel a bit more independent, and that's the start of another family - or sets of families - throughout your life - your FAMILY OF FRIENDS, of choice.
Some of us have high school friends -connections that can last through our lives, or run their course - and that's a family (even with it's own reunions!)
All the people around us they say,
can they be that close?
Just let me state for the record
Were giving love like a family does!
There are college friends who become a family, with reunions and alumni associations and everything... (ahhh, if only there had been a gay fraternity at my college that I could have joined!) (Okay, last year there was a great article about the 20th anniversary year of a GAY FRATERNITY!!! That link is gone, but you can still check out:)
Delta Lambda Phi is the Gay Fraternity they talked about - they have a website, too, here.
Then there are the friends you make your first job...
This joyful gathering around you of kindred spirits continues throughout life.
There's a family of people from your hobbies and passions (I've seen knitters talk like long-lost siblings, and anyone who's ever worked on a theater show knows how the actors and crew become a sort of family as long as the production runs!) and the people you find in your careers (When I run into fellow Kid Lit writers and bloggers, I feel a kinship - a sense of family, a shared purpose...)
There's also a family of people you're part of just by being who you are (other two-Dad families with kids make me so happy inside, even when I don't know them at all...) And a sense of community (and extended family) from living in a certain area for long enough that the people at the grocery store know you by name and always say "Hi!"
Another kind of family is when you gather with others who share your take on the world - for me this was coming out and finding a sense of TRIBE with other Gay Men - and as I've grown up, finding a kinship with others in the broader GLBTQ community.
And then, to get a bit philosophical, we're all part of the FAMILY OF HUMANITY. I know, I know, we keep trying to kill each other, or cut each other off in traffic, but every time there's some disaster (9/11, Tsunamis, Hurricane Katrina, Wildfires in California, economic melt-downs...) we seem to be able to forget all the negativity and pull together to help each other out. Maybe we just need to figure out how to do it without the disasters... (sort of like the plot of so many sci fi novels and movies - all the human race needs is some common alien enemy, and we'll stop fighting each other...)
Here's what we call the golden rule
have faith in you and the things you do
and you won't go wrong
oh no this is a family joint (yea yea).
So, back to the pre-school rhyme, when it comes to family,
You get what you get and you don't get upset
Cause really, when you think about it - you get all these different families throughout your life.
And someday, if you're truly blessed, you can add one more kind of family tree to your enormous forest of families: you'll find someone to love, and maybe raise a child together. And you'll be a new family. I am so blessed.
We are Family!For these and so many other reasons, I'm truly grateful.
And you know what?
There's even one more family that comes to mind:
The family - the community - that's part of the adventure of this blogsite!
Thank YOU for being part of my journey, as a writer, a shaman, and a novice blogger...
For all these things, and for you, my community of readers, I give thanks.
We are Family!
And I hope you grab a moment Today, and make a mental list of the families in your lives, and are able to give Thanks, too.
sing with me!
We are family! (we are family) Get up everybody sing!
Yeah, I still really like what I shared last year - and you know what? I'm delighted that YOU, my kidlitosphere blog-reading family, have grown REMARKABLY in the past year, to where now there are over 6,000 of you reading my blog every month!
So to all of you, in the USA and around the world, I wish you a day of Thanks-Giving, and know that today, like every day, I give thanks for YOU!
I found the beautiful water lily (lotus) photo here.