Anyone who knows me knows I adore my family. I know how far my heritage has made me who I am, and often, being so far from them, and so far from the Portuguese enclave in which I came of age, I miss the smells, tastes, outlooks, and sounds of Portuguese life. I miss the compassion, love, and understanding of my mother and father, siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles. I feel, to some degree, severed from them, especially now that I have taken this massive step to set down roots in the South.
My saving grace has been forging new family here, since I set foot on red clay.
The family I have made here through that same love and compassion given me as a child has made possible who I am today, and I am forever thinking about them each step of the way. Each friend who coached, encouraged, and made me feel extraordinary--or challenged me to get my head out of the sand--pushed me forward. So many different communities contributed to my well-being in this very moment, I'm stunned reminiscing sometimes: the Catholic Center, where I felt (and feel) the call to a spiritually mature life; the English department at UGA and the department of housing on campus, where I found the most unlikely pairings of friends who gave me permission to be me; Full Bloom, where I found tenderness, camaraderie, and guidance when it came to the wild and wacky world of mothering. The list goes on and on.
Then there's my husband's family, who without fail have been there for me since day one--through utterly unselfish giving that I find myself wondering if I deserve.
What makes a life possible is love received, practical support and guidance--through the simple presence of another human soul. Who knows how this family will grow?
(Cue music from the Sister Sledge--you know you wanna dance!)