I used to believe that becoming a parent automatically caused some kind of permanent, impenetrable bond with the new person you created, something that made you love them no matter what.

But the painful reality is that people do stupid, hurtful shit to each other regardless of blood ties, and that the expectation of that unconditional love can set up terrible disappointment. When you’re a kid, that expectation is natural, part of needing to belong. When you’re an adult, that unmet need leads to some pretty fucked up behavior.

The only thing I can do to fix my corner of the world is make sure the kids I am connected to feel loved and supported (and here is the key) no matter what they choose, no matter who they love, no matter how they live their lives.

I just wish there was some way to stop feeling the wound of disappointment when I hear the word “family,” to permanently reframe the definition for myself and for everyone else who’s been abandoned by their families of origin. That word is everywhere, used in marketing, thrown around as a self-defining word by people whose lives were never touched by selfishness and greed.

I’m just done expecting good things from the “family” that generated my husband and me. It’s the expectations that fuck up everything.

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