Friday, December 20, 2013

The Book of Morgan | Chapter II

You know if you hang around here much, that I live my life powered by family. The idea of it, the people within it, the people adopted into it and those that live along all along its feathered lines.  It shapes my home, my business and my relationships.

I’ve always been a wanderer.

When one packs up their life and moves from one side of the country to another and from one continent to another, one has to allow themselves to be adopted; especially when you believe in the power of family like I do.

Paul and I have our own families, we've created our own family, but we’ve also allowed ourselves to become a part of other people’s families in some other giant spiritual family realm.

When we chose to adopt the expat life we chose to split our hearts in two. I feel every seam rip open and divide each time the landing gear pulls up, half left at home with my mom, dad, brothers and friends, and the other half settling in to it’s new more spacious cavity here in Chennai.

But you have to have family everywhere you go.

Morgan recently shared this article that describes the indescribable quite perfectly.

Voluntary Kin [noun]: People who feel like family, but to whom we are not related by blood or law – are a significant part of peoples’ support systems.

I don’t know that you ever consciously go searching for these people, but instead you find each other somewhere in the middle of looking for something else. Someone finds them in a hallway for you, you find them passing you in a foot race, you find them on your doorstep when you need someone most. 

The heart always finds what it needs.

When babies fall and break their teeth, continents away, in the middle of the night, you have to call someone to watch their siblings while you find the local emergency room. You need to have people to share your turkey at Thanksgiving, your joy at Christmas and your sorrows as they pass through. Then somewhere, sometimes, the quotation marks fall off, and what you’re left with isn’t any kind of textbook idea of “family” or people that you casually refer to as “family.” They become unequivocally spiritual flesh and blood Family.

They are there as time wears away the sharp edges of unfamiliarity, and are a part of the smooth familiar feeling that is left behind when things begin to feel magically just like home. They erase lines. They make no apologies and require none.

Home isn't ever an easy feeling to find in a new country. I know I didn’t feel at home in Oakwood until long after we’d arrived, long after I began to feel at home at the Loosli’s new home across town and I even though I love it here in Chennai, this place hasn't at all felt like home since we arrived. It is simply the empty shell of the word home; Not waiting to be filled with furniture or people or a refrigerator of food, but waiting to be filled with memories, laughter and stories of our days. 

I said in Chapter One that our friendship, would never be the same after we left Brazil, but I was so naive.  It was better. It wasn’t as easy, but all things that grow, grow with purpose.

We knew when we left Brazil that we had this crazy "Nine Month Tandem DC Family Tour." The impending separation of our families, lovingly sewn up at the seams in the past three years was still on the horizon, but too far off to see.

We were geographically, too far apart for the time that we got to be in the same city again, but it never really mattered. Home is the place, where you are with the people you love. So, we spent mornings on Teddy Roosevelt Island in the shadows of the man, running through cool sprays throughout the city’s parks, and at the zoo. We camped out and we camped in.  We met for coffee, salads, cupcakes and photo walks when we could in Georgetown and followed the kids around on their bikes at the waterfront when we couldn't. We weekended in New York, in Shenandoah and in our own backyards.

We put India on the back burner.

As time drew nearer to our departure, I watched Phinny and Simon one night while Morgan and Phill went out to dinner. As I tucked them into bed and pulled the door closed I said, “I love you boys.” and as easily as it has slipped out of my mouth they sleepily responded, “Love you, too.”

They are not only the product of two incredible humans, but I’ve witnessed the blood, sweat and tears breathed into their first years. I’ve celebrated their birthdays and their first days of school, I’ve worried about their coughs and their bumped heads as if they were my own. I’ve been there in one-way or another, text, phone or in living color and will continue to be.

But, until I arrived here, on the other side of the world, I worried that might all change again.

Our house feels as rough and unfamiliar to the touch, as Brazil's did in its early days. I’ve wondered and worried how I’d do it all again without Morgan just a few conjuntos away. But as I watch Clementine carry “Miss Mogan” around on my iphone while they Facetime, and put her in her tiny backpack to pretend to take her to school and to show her all the latest books she’s reading and kiss her face on the screen, I realize that the miles are as insignificant as my worry.

The kids talk about Phinny and Simon, Morgan and Mr. Phill like they are still here because we don’t talk about them like they are far.

Clementine draws pictures of Morgan, and talks about her all day long. We write their names, and we draw pictures of their house. We make play dough breakfasts for them and we call them on the phone and sometime even on the television remote control. The boys talk about “Midder Phill” when they play legos and we thumb through tiny personalized picture books that Morgan made of each of their adventures with the Looslis since our family of nine was born was born.

As I sat rocking Clem to sleep the other night, the house began to ooze that familiar softness of home for the very first time. The one you search for, try for, decorate and organize for, cook for and cry for. As the warmth of familiarity swirled about the darkened room as I held my sleeping girl, I realized that I have not been searching for it alone. My best friend has made herself, very purposefully, as she always does, a part of the erosion of unfamiliarity here in India, even though she is thousands of miles from her family here.

Dude, I love you. You guys are with us every day.


No comments: