Monday, July 19, 2010

It isn’t always about blood

I am now writing while Little Miss is napping in our rental home in a beach town a couple of hours’ drive from where we live. It’s our annual weekend getaway with friends. The Geeks on Wheels run their cars on the tracks just outside of town with fellow car fanatics, and those who don’t usually alternate between being spectators or tourists, enjoying the quaint downtown area, as well as its scenic riverside and lakefront beach. Everyone, all 10 adults and even the toddler, finds something to do here.

Little Miss has been in very high spirits ever since we arrived. With boundless energy and at least a few adoring adults who love making her laugh, this vacation is especially pleasurable for me because I don’t have to be watching her 100% of the time – not that I mind, but really, I am able to relax better when it’s not imperative for me to have eyes at the back of my head to keep up with my little imp. These are the times where being the first among your friends to have a baby is an advantage (before they’re too busy minding theirs to bother with yours - Hah!). There is usually an adult with my daughter at all times, and because they are familiar faces, she is more oblivious to my coming and going, relegating me to the not-quite-chopped-liver-but-no-filet-mignon role. Somewhere in between is nice. This is good for me.

While I wish My Guy would pick chess over speeding perilously around the tracks as a hobby, watching him this weekend work on cars, talk shop with fellow enthusiasts, and unleash his driving prowess is a beautiful thing because he is in his element. Even then, he is able to divide his time equally between his passion and his family, enjoying the beach with his girls, making his daughter squeal with delight as we splash around in the water and holding my hand in his as we take a walk by ourselves to experience the sunset. It’s moments like these that I am especially grateful for him as he never ceases to make us his priority. He is absolutely deserving of a weekend like this and more. This is good for him.

Little Miss herself is getting attached to our friends, who she addresses as auntie or uncle. When she wakes up in the morning, after asking for daddy, who leaves early for the tracks, she will then proceed to inquire about “Uncle Jason” – surprisingly succinct from the often clumsy toddler mouth – who is her favorite face outside of her parents’. Then there’s “Auntie Meissa” (Melissa), who is delirious that Little Miss could finally, almost say her name, and the rest of the aunts and uncles whose familiar faces provide her the comfort of home away from home. This is good for her.

In a few minutes, Little Miss will wake from her nap. In her groggy state, she will ask for her daddy. Then Jason, and probably Melissa. And I will take her to them, where they will beam at the sight of her and scoop her up and devour her greedily, and Little Miss will luxuriate in their attention. And through this amazing little girl, we will connect, bond, laugh, and even love. This is good for us.

With My Guy’s own relatives scattered across the country, we have learned to make our own connections so we can live fuller lives. Our own experiences taught us that family isn’t always about blood. Having left my own in my late teens in pursuit of my ambitions, I often forget the feeling, but now with the surge of emotions filling the empty cavities in my heart formed from the years away from home, it’s all coming back to me.

This is what it feels like to be with family.

 BabyandUncle Little Miss and her favorite “uncle” perfecting the art of mutual adoration

Thank you for making this whirlwind of a weekend so incredibly memorable for my family and me. You know who you are.