When does ‘my’ family become ‘ours?
A couple of years ago, my husband (The BFG) hosted a family brunch. This sort of task is not usually his responsibility. In the silent divide of our household duties, ‘Organising-Any-Sort-of-Family-Get-Together’ falls firmly into my skill set. Because I can communicate. And cook. Anticipate various dietary needs. And you know, remember stuff.
But time was not at my disposal, so on this rare occasion, the decisions on venue (our home), the guests (his mother, father & sister), the time (too early) and menu (eggs & bacon) fell to The BFG. *Side note: There is probably a whole separate article that could be penned here on the subsequent meal, which I would entitle “The Lost Art of Getting The Eggs Ready At The Same Time As The Bacon”…But I digress…
As he reported his logistical decisions regarding the upcoming brunch, I could not help but start to wonder out loud about all the things that immediately race through my head when I am responsible for such an event. Do I need to go to supermarket again? Has he remembered that we will need full fat cow milk for his mother? Where will they park? And so on. To which, The BFG, understandably agitated with my incessant pestering, says firmly, “Don’t stress baby. This is how my family does things”.
My family. Ouch.
The word wasn’t meant to be divisive. I’m sure my dearest kindest sweetest love was completely unaware of the distinction he had made. And yet one had been made. One that had me asking myself, when does ‘my’ family change into ‘our‘ family?
I realised that for me, the wedding was it. In fact, I considered us family long before that. Perhaps when we moved in together. Or when we adopted our dear pooch from the pound. For, as far back as I can remember in our courtship, from the moment we identified as ‘lifers’, a gear shifted, and I started to identify the nucleus of our family as him, me & the pooch. Around which circles the rest of our family – his, mine…ours.
But there is a core spirit within my (adorable) husband, and it is his 10 year old self. The one that teased his younger siblings. And watched cartoons. And forgot to eat. All of which, come to think of it, he still does regularly. That 10 year old boy also knew his family was a Mummy, a Daddy and three kids…So why was I so surprised that the now 35 year old bearded man before me still thought of that configuration as his family? Why did I suddenly feel like some random high school girlfriend that was crashing their family brunch, and not his wife co-hosting our loved ones in our home?
In the years since, it has been a ongoing subject to ponder. The juggle and pull between our origin family, and the family we craft ourselves as adults. Perhaps the ‘my’ doesn’t need ever switch to ‘ours‘. It’s just semantics, right? We don’t need stick figure cartoons on the back of our car to dictate to the world who is who (I’m sorry, I don’t even understand how that became a thing…). What I am sure of, is that whomever’s family we are, we are a bloody great one.
One that gets up early to see each other. And to eat eggs. Then afterwards bacon. And that’s a family worth being a part of. However you word it.