Monday, August 16, 2010

The Family You Make

I have a very good family of origin. I was born into a loving family with strong, close relationships to not only my parents and brother but also aunts, uncles and cousins. We aren't perfect, of course. We had our share of trials, tribulations, losses and sadness, but I really couldn't have asked for more.

I also count myself fortunate to be part of other families. There's my work family and, yes, we consider ourselves such. This is particularly important and valuable to me because I left my blood family and friends back home in the Northeast when I moved to the Florida Keys almost 9 years ago.

Right now I'm up in Cape Cod with a tribe of friends. We call ourselves Pastafarians. It all started 37 years ago when some college buddies, friends of my brother, got together and camped on Nantucket. Two challenged each other to a spaghetti sauce cookoff. It's grown since that time and every year the tribe gathers for vacation. We always have a Pasta Match with our own ceremonies, taste testing, voting, etc. There were around 50 of us here yesterday. Not everybody stays the week but for however much time the fluid group is together we share big meals, numerous discussions, pool parties, music jams, board games and the pleasure of each other's company. Young people who weren't even born yet are grown up and bringing their fiances. There are a couple of 3rd generationers running around and a lot of Old Geezer references as the original college buddies approach 60.

After years of sometime attending, I've made the pilgrammage annually for the last 11 years. I love reconnecting with these people and growing new friendships along the way. I also love that the cooler Cape temps provide a nice respite from August in Florida.

My family of friends is extensive and spread out in several states. Many are back in New Jersey and today, one group is very much on my mind. I'm waiting to hear about the safe arrival of a new baby - born to a woman who is like my little sister. I became friends with her family almost 20 years ago. She and her mom are also romance writers. We've loved and supported each other through various experiences, good and bad.

Any time now, I'll get a call that my new little niece has arrived. I can't wait. She's proof that no matter how big our family - the one to which we're born, or the ones we make for ourselves -- we can always make room in our heart for more.

While I wait, I'm heading out for this year's book club discussion. We're honoring To Kill a Mockingbird on its 50th Anniversary.


bettyfokker said...

Any news yet? I am send you FGBVs by the way.

Hope said...

I love the family that I make, Aunt Mary!

Mary Stella said...

We love you too, Hoper.

Thanks for all the good vibes, all. Everyone is stable and we're hoping the baby gets to stay inside a few more days.

KellyJ (Bona Fide Betty) said...

Lovely post. FGBVs to you!

Mary Stella said...

Hu, All,

Happy to report that the baby was born this morning. All appears to be fine. Thank you for the powerful good vibes!