It never ceases to amaze me how people keep going in on this process of creating KINDRED. There are so many stories to tell. It’s the holidays and it’s been a twisted but good year. It got me thinking about the security that comes with the feeling of belonging. Ideally, to a family. I haven’t seen a family yet that didn’t have their own brand of crazy, but they are still a family. I have a husband and son and I belong to them. Before them, I belonged to my mom. I keep thinking what must it feel like never to belong to anyone.

The holiday season can be a big, glittering reminder of all of the things these kids don’t have and won’t get. There are some wonderful foster families that celebrate the holidays with everyone equally included, but usually if the child receives anything it’s clothing. The only “gift” Michael got in foster was a nice set of matching clothes so, and he was told this, he wouldn’t look like shit in their pictures.

During my childhood, my mother was always in the worst state of mind around this time of year. It would go from elation with obscene spending sprees to the depths of the darkest addiction. But it was my home. Being with her was my home. It was ripped away never to return. That is how I can claim I somewhat understand what the kids in foster go through. My fondest wish for the longest time was to go home, even though home as I knew it no longer existed. Be it ever so dysfunctional, undervalued or embarrassing, there’s no place like it.

It took a long time to truly make that connection. To understand what was making me melancholy at the holidays, even when everything happening at that time was great. Still though, there is a hole in my heart where my ‘family’ belongs present in my life. It’s so truly unfortunate that we have no control over the actions of others, especially if it is for their own good.

We blame ourselves and magnify our influence in a situation, but in the end we are only programmed to act according to our desire. We can do our best but we can’t save anybody. Each individual can and must choose to live, regardless of circumstance, holding on to the promise that hope exists. Hope is that tiny dot of light when you close your eyes and all you see it darkness. Or pain. When tears well up beyond your control; it’s there. All you have to do is look beyond the horizon in your mind. It’s saved my life many a twisted, tortured moment.

I still get the slightest pang of not jealousy but regret, I suppose. I regret that time and that place is gone. There have been several Christmas’s I spent alone for various reasons. I wanted to experience it alone before I realized how good I actually had it at home. There was the boat parade in Marina del Rey, my apartment at college in Lawrenceville, my mother’s house while she was away, contemplating who I was and what I wanted and who I wanted to be. Nothing panned out yet everything is as it should be. That’s the promise of life. It’s like tubing down an unpredictable river. Your ass is going to get wet, bumped, bruised, perhaps worse, but the current will keep moving and that means so do you.

Surrendering to the flow lessens the contusions, I have personally found. But I still often find myself fighting not to fight the tide. getting swirled off to the side in a jetty. Then I remember the hope, and paddle myself back into the stream, trusting I will end up where I truly belong.

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