So...family. What picture does that conjure up for you? A 50's era family sitting down to dinner? Crazy aunt June, the cat lady? Or the chaos that was last Thanksgiving when uncle Joe showed up drunk and knocked over the buffet table? I guess for everyone it's something different. There really aren't so many traditional families anymore. It's an ever changing concept. I find even within my own family, we have different ideas about what it means.
I was raised in a "traditional" two parent household where the dad went to work and the mom kept the house clean. It was a little different because my dad was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot. And sometimes he was gone tdy or once even for a whole year. My mom occasionally had a part time job, mostly after I was older but her career was our house. There was just my sister and me. And there's seven years difference in our ages (she's younger). And my parents were way strict and conventional. And kind of kept to themselves. My mom never really spent much time with girlfriends and they didn't have people over alot. They did bowl on a league on Friday nights for awhile so I wouldn't say they were anti-social. It was good I guess. I mean I know later on down the road when you have therapy you're supposed to blame everything on your parents. But I figure they did the best they could and what they thought was right. I was just determined to raise my kids a little differently.
So fast forward...I'm twenty, I get pregnant and married (Yes, in that order. Stupid doctor telling me it takes 6 months to get pregnant after you go off the pill! Try the next freakin week!) Then it's so much fun that we do it again 359 days later. Yeah, that's 6 days shy of a year between my son and daughter. (Stupid antibiotics that make the pill ineffective). Then, twenty two months later, another son. I thought we were on a roll and would have kept going...but my hubby decided three was his point of no return and had a little snipping done. Now, since our oldest had already been diagnosed with autism at this point, he was probably being genetically cautious as well.
So three kids. Under three. Whew! Somedays I think I'm lucky I survived those first few years. Some days I'd give anything to relive a week of it, knowing what I know now. I wouldn't function so much on autopilot and I'd truly enjoy those babies! But we made it anyway. Now, I'm not gonna go so much into the nature and personality of the kids (that's a whole other post), I'm just gonna skip ahead to where it gets chaotic. We ended up having more then three kids. We have biologicals, fosters, and extras. Lots of kids. Those were our three biologicals. CJ, Molly & Sean.
Every boy my daughter has ever dated has called me "mom". Oddly enough, she's always been attracted to bad boys and well, I'm a sucker for a motherless boy. Half of her girl friends called me mom too. I have been counselor, keeper of secrets, and hug giver to more kids over the years then I can count. Those are extras. They grow, they move, the friendship ends, but they stay in your heart. And when one of them calls or texts, I never fail to answer.
Then we have our "fosters". Bobby has lived with us (this time) since January of this year. It's not a legal foster situation because his dad wouldn't relinquish custody, but he's been here nonetheless. I do his laundry, keep track of dr/dentist visits, make sure he gets good grades, issue curfews and punishments. He calls us his family and me mom. Brian is 21. He was never a legal foster either and in fact, has a family that claims him. He got absorbed into our family about three years ago. His college was closer to our house then his "real" family's house so he started staying here on weekends. Then summers. And during holiday breaks. He's even got a cell phone on our plan. They are family.
My parents don't get this situation. They can't imagine taking in strangers and making them family. I can't imagine not doing it. I love my large boisterous clan. I love my biologicals fiercely. But I also love my fosters and extras. I love the nights when we have ten people at the dinner table because some showed up randomly for "dinner at the Turner house". (Which is generally an unforgettable occasion due to general outrageousness and the complete inability to limit table talk to "appropriate" topics.)
Which brings us to the title of this piece..."why does your drunken ex-boyfriend still call me mom?" Because he does. Molly's most recent ex (and they were all but engaged, ring bought and everything) still texts me and calls me. Even though they were the worst couple in the history of couples, I can't not answer. Because he's had a tough life. Yes, he drinks way too much (his inability to quit being the reason she finally (hallelujah) called things off), does really stupid things (drives drunk), and generally acts like an ass. But (as my husband and son finally agreed) he's not a bad person. He just needs help. And I would never ever want to see him date my daughter again, but I would like to see him have a happy life. So, much to her new boyfriend's chagrin, he still calls me mom and I still answer.
Wow. This wasn't a very funny post. Thanks for reading anyway.