Christina M. Currie: Family ties |

Christina M. Currie: Family ties

Christina M. Currie

— The Fourth of July has always been a special holiday for me and my girls. They really love Christmas and birthdays – you know, holidays when they get presents – but Independence Day, despite its lack of gifts or cake, is special to them.

It’s our day. We bond over cups of hot chocolate and fireworks, dazzled by even the smallest of displays.

That’s why it was a little hard for me this year to watch my 6-year-old and 5-year-old enjoy the rocketing display from someone else’s lap.

For us, like many people, there’s family and then there’s family. One kind you’re born into. The other you make.

Both are important, but it’s touching to see how members of your surrogate family interact.

The couple who takes care of my girls are “grandpa and grandma.” Part of that is something they were born with. Part of it is something we’ve made.

You see – try to follow here – the girls’ grandparents are their half-brothers’ real grandparents. Get it?

I grew up with my children’s, half-brothers’ mother.

Got that?

It’s OK if you don’t.

Anyway, the grandparent’s house is full to overflowing this week with sons and daughters and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

The resulting chaos is heaven for my girls. They love the plethora of children of every age running in every direction.

It makes me dizzy.

But more than that is having their half-brothers near. There’s a little (OK, a lot) of hero worship happening this week. You’d think those two boys invented fun and are the only ones to ever give my girls a piggy back ride.

It’s lovely.

And the fact that the boys, ages 11 and 13 and on that awkward brink of manhood, are content to have two little girls in their laps while they sit back and endure fireworks, makes my heart swell.

I missed having two little warm bodies on my lap July Fourth. I missed hearing them gasp and seeing their eyes light up as they pointed and said “did you see that one, mommy?”

I missed that impetuous moment when 6-year-old Katie turns around, kisses my cheek and says, “I love you.”

In exchange, I got to see her hug her brother, Alex, and watch her eyes light up when she looked at him. I got to see 5-year-old Nikki clinging to her brother T.J.’s shoulders as he ran around in circles.

And I realized that we’ll always have “our” special moments. I’m OK sharing those with others.

Particularly when those other people are as touched by it as I am. That’s family.

Real or imagined.

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