Dearest I Know Who You Were Talking To,

I truly understand how you could feel the way you do, and discussing your feelings this way is a good way to knock those fears down and show ’em who’s boss. Kinda brilliant, actually.  😉

You may not realize this, but my job takes me more away from my family than any member of my family ever could – special needs and special circumstances included.  Mostly during this past year, I’ve been getting used to be the only parent again, and that’s full of ups and downs, trying to sort the time out the right way, and then there was the game launch (that was a doozy), but the thing is… there’s always room for family.  Regardless of whether a family member is here or there, they’re still family.  Hearts don’t come in sizes – they’re only limited by our fear.

I understand your trepidation about using the “M” word.  It can be very emotionally charged.  I don’t really need that validation (or, at least, I don’t feel like I do), but I guess I come from a strange background where having multiple parents on both sides was taken in stride.  Heck, I lived with my bio-mom and my adopted mom at the same time for several months!  (Or, rather, they lived with me.)  I have a dad and a step-dad, and another adopted dad… and the kids each have their own parental variations (Aunt Kira, various N’aunties and N’uncles).  Family is just… family.  It’s how we love one another, how we share things, that defines it, whether we’re here or there or nowhere or everywhere or even the tiniest or greatest part genetically common.  Titles don’t matter much – they’re just another archetype waiting to happen – so dodge ’em and make your own relationships.  That’s part of becoming an adult, after all, is to see your parents and the individuals of your family as humans, finally.  (Maybe I just got a head-start on that.)

(I’m not sure what you mean in your use of the word “sick”.  Maybe I’m old.  Explain if you so desire.)

Returning to the fold is not getting to know a single person – though gods know that I want to get to know you more than I have words to describe.  Every story I read, every picture I find, every macaroni art and stepping stone is cherished and shared with everyone.  This joy is too big to keep to myself, and besides, you were never “just mine” – you are a part of all of us.

A part.  You appear, at least in pixels, to be an awful lot like me, it’s true, but I also know that you’re not me, and that is glorious and beautiful and wonderful.  The apple, they say, doesn’t fall far from the tree, but no two apple trees grow quite the same way or give quite the same fruit.  You don’t have to be anything except your self.  I know it sounds crazy, but I really don’t have any expectations of you, because that’s what unconditional love means.  To me, this time coming is like getting to know someone for the very first time and yet already having an enormous, unfathomable love and adoration for them.  It’s exciting and scary like a roller-coaster.

All of those shared moments will happen in time, but the fact of them happening doesn’t mean you lose your parents and sister.  It’s not “one or the other”.  I chose them for a reason, and I stand by that decision, even when it has hurt.  Not knowing details made things hard, but I’ve kept the faith that the decision I made was the right one.  I can’t go back on it, I can’t “undo” it, and I wouldn’t even if I could.

This is probably a lot to take in – I’ve never been accused of being understated or subtle – but it’s been building up for a while.

Also, on the “exhausted all the time” thing, we should probably discuss that soon.  There are genetic factors that might need to be addressed.

— Dawn

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