Unprotected ultimately about family, and a young woman’s discovery that there are all kinds of family and many places that can be called home.
–from the back cover of unprotected
I wrote unprotected for many reasons–to vent about my job, to explain child protection, to do something creative–but above all I wanted to explore the meaning of family.
Family is biology–similar hair texture, body types, and tendency toward shyness or humor. That familiar feeling that comes from looking into someone’s face and seeing your own.
Family is more than biology…it is history and chemistry too.
Family is shared experiences…eating Grandma Sabby’s molasses cookies with lemon frosting for breakfast…Grandma knew that her breakfast table was for anyone who might stop by, not just the relatives.
Family is that intangible connection, the feeling that comes in friendship when we think the same way, laugh at the same jokes, shop for the same boots just a half a size apart. It is sharing a dorm floor and waiting for each other for dinner every day, even though guys don’t really do that.
Family is green bean hot dish, sunset pontoon rides, traveling across the state just to share the drive.
Family is shared pain, or joy, or grief. It is lasagnas in the freezer, whoops of glee in the hallways, and tears at the funeral.
Family is caramel sundaes, Mahjongg with home health aides, flying in from New York because it’s important to be there.
Family is covering at work, praying every night, finding a way to bring out a smile.
Family is choice, effort, commitment, and promise. It is pain, tension, and forgiveness. It is security, safety, and relief.
Family is the reason that anything else on this earth counts at all.
And on this holiday when I am acutely aware of what I have lost, I am grateful that I have a family that is bigger and stronger than I ever knew.