Days of Our Lives Episode One: In Search of Family
The Birth of a New Series
I get restless. I admit it. After almost four years here at HP, I get tired of doing the same old same old. And since my muse won’t shut up, I’m forced to listen to her from time to time and take her suggestions.
This was one of them. A new series.
No, I’m not abandoning the old series. I’m just adding another to the growing list of series.
So enough with the introduction. Let’s begin and you’ll see soon enough what this series is about.
Listen closely. Can you hear it? It’s the sound of another wall tumbling down.
I won the birth lottery.
Yes I’m adopted and yes, my first nine months were spent in nine different foster homes, but after that flurry of activity I was adopted by Dale LeRoy and Evelyn Josephine Holland, and I became an instant winner in the birth lottery.
My family may not have been perfect but it was the perfect family for me. I had loving parents who made sure I knew how much I was loved; I had a loving sister; and I had an extended family, grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, cousins galore, and all were marvelous. I’m sixty-six now but I remember clearly the family get-togethers, the meals, the gifts, the story-telling, the laughter and the love. I remember thinking, as a young teen, just how lucky I was. I loved my family, they loved me, and I completely understood the importance of a loving family unit.
And then it disintegrated.
By the time I was nineteen they were all dead except for my mother and sister, and shortly after my dad’s funeral my sister and her family moved to North Dakota. Our once vibrant, fun-filled family was shrinking rapidly, and suddenly holidays were not as special and laughter could not be heard from 4022 North 18th Street in Tacoma, Washington.
The end of college meant joining the workforce full-time for me, and my mother re-married, and another layer of separation appeared as family memories faded and a new reality appeared.
So I Tried Different Remedies
The adopted kid who had won the lottery tried to form a family of his own, got married, instant fatherhood of two teens, was woefully unprepared for the responsibilities, tried maniacally at times to create the family of his memories and failed, failed, failed time and time again to achieve the unachievable.
Divorce, drifting, random dating, play the fool, playing the happy-go-lucky, bend that elbow and lift a toast to the way things used to be and the way things could never be again. Then raise another toast, and another, until the reason for the toasts was lost in the amber elixir, and night resembled day, and day night, and the lance-bearing tilter of windmills couldn’t find his lance, couldn’t find his trusty steed and forgot completely the purpose of his quest. Decades flashed by, the blink of an eye, a son was adopted by the adoptee, a small family formed, new traditions started, a facsimile of the past, manufactured, practiced, fine-tuned, a father and son, both castoffs, both wondering if that’s all there is.
She was born, really, to two absentee parents. Raised herself basically, the concept of family a cruel joke that others understood but she was not privy to. All she knew was that she wanted it.
A young bride, a young mother, and then a mother again, and divorce arrived on the doorstep, and love again, motherhood again, and again, and those same decades flashed by until the young mother was middle-aged with four children, no husband and each day a flurry of hard work, paying bills and looking for the light at the end of the tunnel.
But she was determined. She raised that family, she established family traditions and she nurtured, loved and achieved her goal. All that was missing for this beautiful woman was a loving husband, a partner, someone to laugh with, to hold, to cherish and to partner with as the sun sets on life and the remaining years rush up to greet her.
And so they met, the man who once had family but had lost it, and the woman who never had family but formed her own. As one might suspect trust was a big issue, tentative steps at first, wary at best, one eye on the exit door in case pain approached, one hand on the ripcord, just waiting for that inevitable moment of breakup and again, incompleteness. Four kids with one, one kid with the other, the instant American family built upon a foundation of hope and insecurity.
But somehow it worked!
Somehow they suspended distrust just long enough to have a chance. Somehow they pushed aside the pain of the past just long enough to allow happiness to sneak in the backdoor. Somehow love had its way.
The adopted kid and the forgotten kid found each other and miraculously, it was enough to form a strong foundation.
Love found a way!
Bev’s youngest child, Allora, leaves for college in two weeks. The last to leave the nest and she is so excited. Bev’s oldest son is a registered nurse and is about to become a married man. Her second son is building homes in eastern Washington. The third son works in California now but will soon return to Olympia, and my son lives here in Olympia and continues to form his own life.
What do they all have in common?
All five know that they are loved.
All five know that family is a phone call away.
All five know that family is so much more than a six-letter word.
Family is an inside job. It does not depend on numbers or shared celebrations. It does not depend on proximity nor does it depend on daily contact.
Family depends on love and family depend on love, a play on words, perhaps, but the truth nonetheless.
We are family and therein is our treasure.
I have no clue and in truth, that can be said for us all. Bev and I will begin our lives together in an empty nest but really, where there are family and love, no nest is ever empty. We will see our children often and we will share in their joys and provide support during their pains. We will gather together for holidays when possible but always be together in spirit. We will allow our pasts to be our foundations, we will share stories, form new traditions as new members are added, and remember those who pass on eventually.
And Bev and I will love the hell out of each other, and share in the joy that comes from knowing we did our best to pass on that all-important message…..
That love is the most important thing in life.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)