Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Debate I'm Having (With Myself) Over the Importance of Titles...

I pretty much have an opinion on everything. Well, everything I have even a partial story on at least. Usually, once my mind is made up it stays that way unless I either witness/experience something to change my mind, or have an intelligent conversation with someone that opens my eyes to a thought process I hadn't considered. Right now, the subject is titles, and the intelligent conversation is with myself. ;)

Titles have always been super meaningful to me. I am the Oldest of Nine, and that is a title that I use to partially define myself. Family titles are like the royalty of titles. Family is the one thing you are supposed to have no matter what else is thrown your way. It's supposed to be that unbreakable bond.

I remember when I had already left my mom's house as an "adult", coming over to celebrate one of my sisters' birthday. It was a bunch of her friends, my mom, our other sister, the lady that rents a room from my mom, and my sisters' grandparents. I watched as the birthday girl kept talking to her "Grandma" (the lady that rents a room from my mom) while her actual grandma sat in a chair, jumping to attention every time her title was used, and slumping each time she realized that not only was she being ignored, her title, her special name, was being used on a stranger with no actual ties to our family. Granted, the lady has now lived in my mom's house for over a decade, but when this had happened the lady had recently moved in. I vowed to never call someone by a title they didn't rightfully have.

Rewinding the clock a bit, when I was old enough to talk to my mom about the boys I was kissing, my mom gave me very clear guidelines to follow. Basically, going on a date with someone does not automatically mean you are in a committed relationship. Going on multiple dates does not equal boyfriend/girlfriend status. Conversations are required for either of those things to happen, and she told me that if I liked someone enough to make out with them, I should probably make sure we're only making out with each other. (I was 15 when I was given that advice, that's about as serious as she wanted me getting with anyone). That carried over to my dating life as an adult, where just because you asked me to dinner, that didn't mean we were a couple. I've always been pretty ambiguous when there's no titled attached, BUT you throw a title onto something, and I follow the title to a T.

So I bet at this point you're wondering what my point is.

One of my sisters temporarily lost custody of her children. One of my dearest friends and her husband became the foster parents of said children. They raised those children for about a year (sharing time with my sister while she went through the steps to get them back), while building bonds with the kids and their family members. These children are my son's cousins. My friend has nieces and nephews, which for simplicity purposes became the foster kids' cousins. My son is now calling my dear friend "Aunt" because that is the title you have for the person who is raising your cousins. I'm not going to lie, the first time I heard it, it made me uncomfortable.

Sunday, I had a family day with my son and his dad, AND my friend, her husband, and my niece and nephew. It got the wheels turning a bit. This woman has been there for me through some pretty heinous stuff over the past decade or so, and she went out of her way to keep my niece and nephew from being separated by the system, knowing fully that by taking on my sister's children, even in the best case scenario her heart would end up shattered. How is this woman not my family? Because we aren't blood related? I call bull. If there was a title I could give her stronger than aunt for my son, I would give it.

I guess I still stand in the corner of titles are important, but I think I've realized that just because you are born into a title doesn't mean you get to keep it.

Life is kinda like a cloud puzzle. Everyone is a different piece, shifting around, figuring out where they belong. A lot of the pieces sometimes look alike, and sometimes pieces even manage to sort of fit together, but when you find the right spot for the all the pieces, it looks pretty great, and you'll wonder how you ever thought it was supposed to look different than the end result.

And now, even though I really enjoy that last paragraph, I wonder if anyone else will find it relevant to this post. (I'm keeping it though, because I enjoy it.)

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