Don't you think it's interesting that I am the creator and publisher of a magazine called "Expanded Family Magazine." The definition being: Expanded Family-is any group of people who declare themselves to be a family. Legal and/or biological ties may or may not be there, however, legal and/or biological ties are not necessary within the Expanded Family Dynamic.
In a very real way..my wildly interesting experimental life is becoming more and more aligned every day. The depth of my gratitude sometimes overwhelms me. Not only do I have my "Ohana" of my origin (My original tribe-my biological family) I've got many different tribes with many incredible people who I love, respect and have reverence for.
And now I live in a place that has always had the definition of what it means to have an expanded family consciousness. I'm literally just making this connection as I write this. I'm so deeply touched over here in Honolulu.
PLEASE LOVE HER in such a way where we see her shinning-and you've already won us over. To us, she is already a bright light of beauty and goodness that we see, experience and adore already. Yet, it takes a special kind of man to reach in and grab that extra radiance that exemplifies what is already within her.
In this way, below that is our awareness that life, love and relationships have not always been that for her. That her life has been a journey.
Many men have tried and failed. We know that. Often we have seen her light begin to dim, even just a little...and if we didn't know that, she will let us know-it took her doing her own inner work, it took her having a love affair with herself before he was able to even spot her.
Mark helps me understand it is the same for many good men who are also on the journey -also learning and growing on the way. I love the way he loves her and the proof lives in her radiance. Mark is extremely special in the way of LOVE. He's also unapologetic in his masculinity. Which is so very refreshing. I'm noticing the men who have the capacity to have a woman radiate-seem to be unapologetically masculine. There is something to be said for men who own their yin and yang. And boy, does he ever own both. The way he adores Michelle makes me feel incredible. I love watching him in motion. I love his random moments where he's so fully all about the woman that he loves-he just scoops her up into him and snuggles her as she giggles. Or when she says something really really cute and he looks at her with such adoring intensity and says "I fucking love you"
I mean...this guy is one of my favorites. I also notice how her joy is his joy -her smile means the world to him. Her bubbly personality and the love running through her-melts him. Moment to moment. I can see this in the depth of his eyes.
As I'm sharing all of this, there could be a misperception regarding their ability to be in what people call "the real world." These two humans are in the real world. They are impeccable in their word and field of business. Responsible and they too... have those deep authentic conversations required in all human connections. They just happen to be committed to love at a much higher rate than what is considered "normal" on the mainland.
Their commitment reminds me of this song....
I won't take you for granted 'cause we'll never know when
When we'll run out of time so I'm gonna love you
Like I'm gonna lose you
In the blink of an eye
Just a whisper of smoke
You could lose everything
The truth is you never know
At first it was this playful joke. But now it's gone into this realm where I do actually feel like I'm a part of their family in that intentional expanded context. We keep playing into this dynamic and it's pure fun.
The other day when I called Mark (aka my Honolulu Dad) to find out the logistics for the surprise party he was planning for her..... the minute he heard my voice he said "Oh, it's my BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER" He said it in the exact tone my Dad actually speaks to me. Mark is from New York which is very close to Philadelphia, where my own father was born and raised. He brought me into the connection I have with my Dad and he didn't even know it.
When I shared this with him, he told me he calls Michelle "his gorgeous." His gorgeous goddess etc. at some point, she told him that is what her mother called her too. I mean...this guy...he's just so very!!!!!
As he and I were going to the house to prepare it for Michelle's special birthday celebration...we were talking about death. He's in that place with a dear older friend where he is spending as much time as possible with him because time is of the essence. He told me- he told Michelle she would need to die first because he wouldn't be able to handle it.
My response was "that's true, you wouldn't be able to handle it" and he tapped me on the shoulder in a fake slap and said "Hey!"
I said "What did you do that for? I'm agreeing with you!"
Then I shared:
As his -decade- older -than him daughter- I reminded him that I would die before either of them.
This landed me another tap on the shoulder. I was being playfully spanked.
"Don't say that. Don't ever say that again" he said (he's adorable)
I tried to tell him that one day when he and Michelle have children -my temporary status of being their daughter would need to end."
He is so funny. He said "Whoa WHOA.... what do you mean "temporary"?
I mentioned that I didn't think it would go over so well with the children to have a sister that will be about 50 years older than them.
I got tapped AGAIN
He said "Well they will just have to get used to it. You're our first daughter and that is that"
I said "I liked being your daughter before you started hitting me. Now I'm not so sure!"
And we laughed really really hard. It was so fun and funny.
I mean, this is the level we play at! I really love them..so much.
There is often a three way text between me and them. I share something and individually they respond as "my mom and dad" Or my mom will respond "me and your father" which is so darn cute.....
Love. Love and more love thrown at me. Very similar to the love thrown at me by my biological parents.
Recently my own mother referred to me as "kitten toes" which was hysterical because I will be 47 years old and I have never heard her say that to me before. But my mother is one of the funniest people I know. To know her is to laugh. Truly.
I think it would sooth their "missing their daughter," souls to know I am treated with such love and kindness by these loving humans. In the same way....that I felt-when my son went to Florida and felt that endearing "intentional" 'Ohana for his friends mom... who he lovingly referenced as his "Florida Momma" That felt good to me too.
And then there is: Elizabeth, The Duchess. Ugh. This lovely incredible creature...She melts me too.
It's been slightly different with Elizabeth because I met her before Mr Kentucky came into her life. She too, same as Michelle, was already this incredible light, beauty and was already radiating. I go in to see her one day after not seeing her for a few weeks and she has that extra something-something moving through her. Yet, he was already back in Kentucky by the time I felt this love story...
My song for Elizabeth and Kentucky is Fiona Apple's Hot Knife:
He makes my heart a cinemascope screen
Showing a dancing bird of paradise
He excites me: must be like the Genesis of Rhythm
I get feisty whenever I'm with him
These people, my honolulu 'Ohana...these decade younger than me humans are teaching me so much about love. It's really beautiful to me.
I have to go now..I have to expand my capacity to hold gratitude again. I keep having to expand my container....because the love is just so much bigger than me....