Mi Familia Cubana

Today I board a plane and tomorrow (very early) I will be flying to Cuba once again. This will be my fourth trip in as many years. 

Each time I lead a mission trip I get both excited and nervous. As much as I miss being a participant I do not kid myself to know that I am a much better leader than I am follower. That being said, I will easily follow someone who has more experience than I. On this trip, however, I’m it. 

This trip is different. I am taking young adults, there is only one other who has ever been and her first trip was last fall. I am excited for these others to experience Cuba. I am especially excited to introduce my partner to Cuba. 

In therapy yesterday he commented to our therapist that I am more excited to introduce him to my “Cuban family” than I am to my “real family”. This made me terrible sad. It’s not that he doesn’t get it, the whole family estrangement thing, and all he was saying was that these people are really important to me.

For better or worse and much to the dismay of my extended family I have learned to make my own family in life. I would love for my collective parents to meet my partner, but for too many reasons to discuss I cannot. I would love to have a family where I felt accepted for who I am. I would love to have a family who embraced me in a warm and loving way. 

I’m going to stop there because I just wrote and erased several sentences because they just got mean. 

Let’s just say this. I don’t expect the Walton’s, never have, nor do I expect the Brady Bunch, but there is a middle ground between that and David and Bathsheba’s little brood. All this to say, I would love to have the “meet the parents” moment. 

I even married into a family where I thought I would get that. A perfect little progressive family where I would be cherished, and well, that didn’t turn out so well either…

So this little phrase has bothered me since yesterday. There’s a guilt voice that says “how dare you put anyone else above your family”. Then I thought about it. 

I’m excited for Derrick to go to Cuba. I’m excited to have him see the things that I’ve seen and love the people that I love, that’s what you want when you’re in a relationship, you want to share things that are important and life changing with that person. I dream of bringing our kids someday.

But I realized this morning as I awoke from a restless sleep, I am not more excited to have him meet the Cubans I have grown to love more than my family, it’s that, he has already met my family. 

This man to whom I love and am partnered co-parents my children, has met and talked to my sisters and my brothers. They may be blood relation, they may not, but he already knows them. 

Maggie, Gus, Sarah, Melissa, Nick, Tripp, and Jeff. My family. He has already been given the seal of  approval. I love them all and thank them for being part of my real family. 

Now, off to Cuba where I have more mothers and grandmothers than any girl could want (and love every second of it!). 

Side note, they’ve seen his picture, he’s got nothing to worry about except maybe a wandering eye… 😉

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