Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sisters and Tomato Plants

“If the seasons like Chicago tides come at ridiculous times and I have to plant in September instead of May, and if I have to make up family from scratch, what matters is that I do have sisters and tomato plants, the essential things.” – Barbara Kingsolver

I spent the weekend back in California visiting family. It was wonderful to be back in a place where people knew me. Where I wasn’t Vicar Kjersten or seminarian Kjersten, or even adult Kjersten, but was instead Glen and Nancy’s daughter, Ralph and Charlotte’s granddaughter. It felt so stifling as a kid to not have my own identity. But now it feels like a gift, to be around people who in some ways know me better than I know myself, having seen all my quirks before, in my grandparents. It was good to be for a while in a place and with people who are familiar and safe.

Being home in California also made me miss my home in Chicago and my classmates in diaspora across the country. This group of people has become for me a home and a family. Brothers and sisters who have only known me at my current height, but who know a part of my identity and personality and can hold that up for me when I forget who I am.

I am grateful for these homemade families. Families of friends and colleagues that offer support and love in as far-flung of places as Washington, DC, Chicago, and maybe even Syracuse...