What does it mean to be family? Is it simply a connection via genetic code? A lot of people seem to think so. Congratulations – you spent a few minutes participating in the conception. Now what about the next 50 or 60 years of that human being’s life?
There are a ton of genetic contributors who are simply awful parents. Or they aren’t parents at all. I waver on what’s worse – to be an awful parent that’s there consistently, or to be an absentee parent. The funny thing is, these absentee guys always turn up when something good happens to the kid. Remember the kid that won American Idol a few years ago – hadn’t talked to her dad in years, then she won and he turned up. The thought of using your kid for your own personal gain is ludicrous. I see parents getting jealous of their kids and even taking credit for their kids’ work. It’s mind-boggling.
I don’t have any kids. Not genetically. I haven’t gotten to experience that in my life yet. I pray that I do, as it’s been my heart’s desire for many years. And now that I’ve met my soulmate, that desire is much stronger than ever before. I want my babies to look like her and have her sweetness. But that’s really up to God, not us. It’s possible that I will never have a baby that’s “mine” in that sense. There are many good, loving couples that aren’t able to.
But I already have Lu. She’s not “my” child, but I look at her and can’t help calling her mine. I love her mom, and I love her. I treat her as my own, and I love her as my own. Nothing I ever do will make me her dad – But am I family? Definitely. I love her, care for her, and spend time with her every day. I will be with her through thick and thin. When I talk to Nicole about her, I say “I’m gonna go pick up our girl.” It’s not just semantics… there is feeling behind it. The vow I will give to Lu at the wedding says that I will “seek to find a place in her heart that is mine alone.” It’s not about replacing someone. It’s about being there. I recently read a quote that said “Pay attention to the little stuff your kids say, because it’s big stuff to them.”
Having a child’s trust is a big responsibility. She already believes I am going to stick around, and she already believes that I’m there for her. I feel the weight, but also the joy of that responsibility.
Family means being there. It means unconditional love. It means forgiveness. It means making your kids and your spouse number two, right after God. It means leaving foolish life choices, immature activities, and selfishness in the waste bin where they belong. And it really does mean “forsaking all others” as many traditional wedding vows say.
Nicole, Lu and I are a family. A beautiful, new, tiny little family. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from them, and I can’t imagine letting a day go by without talking to them. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner with whom to raise children. Right now, we don’t know how many kids we’ll have, or even if they’ll be adopted or genetically ours. It doesn’t matter. We will be a strong, God-centered, loving family.
We are blessed. Beyond measure.