Friday, June 29, 2007

Ever Expanding Family

She did believe, in some vague way, that whenever she got married, her husband would simply flow seamlessly into her own. She never thought about having to fit into his world, his family. It was as though she expected him to come from some great vacuum, eager - but not too eager - for family dinners, evenings out, backyard barbecues and all of the wrappings of an active family. She even has friends who insist that their spouses will, essentially, have to have no family of their own in order to properly assimilate into the demands of large family life.

It never occured to her that she would fall in love with someone who, while enjoying family, has no desire to acquire a new one.

But she has.

In some ways, she's been lost to her own family. Her parents wonder about her whereabouts. Her grandmother curiously calls and asks for updates. Her cousins, well, they vanished on their own long ago.

But she's creating her own family, building from the ground up, melding lives with someone completely different from herself.

So, she doesn't over commit him, although he generally does whatever she asks. She never tells her mother, "Yes, we'll be there." Recently, if it's something that matters enough, she'll commit herself, "I'll be there for sure, and I'll get back to you about him."

Her mother seems to appreciate this semi-commitment.

Mostly, she despises saying "Yes, sure thing, you can count on me," when she may very well have to place an apologetic phone call or write a suck-up e-mail later on down the road.

So, her new method seems to work.

Though it's new for her, and her observing family, to note that she can't just say yes, that she has to talk to someone else first, that she no longer seems in complete control over her time, of her life.

This is a deliberate move on her part. She has a tendency to move full-force through life, completely forgetting that anyone else might care about a decision she has to make, that there are people who would like to be consulted before she, say, rents an apartment, quits her job or books a hotel room. That is, there are people other than her mother who want to be involved in her thought process.

When she rented her apartment, she didn't tell him until she was moving in two days.

Now, months later, she consults him about an issue at work. Mostly, she's made up her mind about the course of action, but at least he thinks he's involved. And he, like her father always has, offers a unique perspective on the situation. At the very least, he will validate her choices.

He can fill some of the roles that her family long has, but he still will never fully integrate into her family.

He will never be her mother's son. He has his own mother, thank you very much, and, admittedly, he doesn't call her enough. He can't possibly take on another one.

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