My parents gave life to two daughters; we were both loved and spoiled rotten by our folks. My dad, a Latin male, was the kind of man that would have loved sons, but he never made my sister or me feel less because we were girls. As a matter of fact, maybe because he wanted to pal around with his offspring, he taught us that we should never let anyone tell us we couldn’t do something because we were female. Still we always asked him if he missed not having sons and he told us that one day he would have; Daddy told us that it was our job to “bring him his sons” referring to his eventual son-in-laws.
My sister was married five years before me and Daddy proudly announced that he had one of his sons. My mom always spoke about her three children and explained her “son-in-law” was her “son-in-love”. When I was married my dad proudly proclaimed that he was father to two beautiful daughters and two handsome sons. Mommy told us that the extraneous titles didn’t change anything, once you were family, you WERE family and that there was plenty of love to go around.
Our parents have long since passed away and my sister and I often discuss the meaning of family. You don’t have to be born into it, you can be a member of the family by choice, such as marriage, and there are no delineations like second, third or so-many-times removed cousins. Our Machatenista, parents of our “in-law” children, are our new sisters and brothers. Cousins to our cousins, from the other side of their family, are our cousins. The in-laws to our in-laws become our family. I introduce people to my sister and my brother and chuckle when they raise an eyebrow after hearing about their sons and daughters.
We are all family. We enjoy the warmth of extended family and the feeling of belonging — it’s never feeling alone and it is wonderful.