Dear Family: I’ve Met Some People.

Family, we have to talk.

This is hard to say, and I know it’ll be even harder to hear, but I can’t lie to you any longer: I’ve fallen in love with another family.

I wasn’t looking to fall in love, I promise. I was just scrolling around Instagram, as one does, and there they were. The perfect family. 

Of course, I know. There isn’t one “perfect family,” so I’ll rephrase that: The perfect family for me.

Whatever they were doing in their posts, they always seemed to be enjoying themselves—whether they were playing a board game, BBQ-ing, or trying (and failing miserably) at tandem-bike riding. Their smiles radiated joy. 

And let’s face it, family: We haven’t had fun, actual fun, in a long time. You reject me when I suggest we play a Rummikub or work on a jigsaw puzzle, and you nix every Netflix suggestion I come up with. I could tell from their photos that this other family and I would be on the same page.

At first I fought it. I even “muted” their posts, because I felt disloyal. We’ve been together all these years, of course I feel an obligation to you. But even that word: Obligation. In all the weeks I’ve been seeing this other family, I’ve never once felt Obligated. It’s just—easy. 

Okay, yes, if I’m being totally honest, it’s been months, not weeks since that first time I hearted one of their phots. And that’s what I told myself it was at the time: Just a cartoon heart. But then they hearted one of my posts (no, you guys weren’t in it), and then I hearted another of theirs. 

Well, one thing led to another, and before long it became pretty obvious that we were connecting on a deeper level. 

Remember that time I went out for the weekly supermarket run, and I was gone for about four hours? No? You don’t remember? Well, maybe that explains why you’re not the right family for me. This other family would’ve noticed. They would’ve wondered where I’d been, because grocery shopping—even when it’s once a week—shouldn’t take four hours!

Sorry. I really didn’t want this to be acrimonious. We’ve been through a lot together, and you’ll always hold a special place in my heart. (Sorry, poor word choice.)

But what I was trying to say was, that was the day I arranged to meet this other family in person for the first time. It doesn’t matter where we met, I don’t think you want to know the answer to that. Let’s just say, it was a public place and there was water. We had to see if what we were feeling was real. 

It is real. We knew it right away. I belong with them, and I don’t want to fight it anymore.

So, I guess that’s all there’s left to say. I’ll be moving my stuff out later today, and I’ve left a long detailed list of everyone’s allergies, prescriptions, after-school activities, music teachers, tutors, coaches, camps, favorite friends for sleepovers and after-school playdates on the kitchen counter. 

If you need anything else from me, just post it on your Instagram, because I’m sure I’ll scroll through it from time to time. Of course, of course I won’t block you, I’d never do that. In fact, I sincerely hope we #stayintouch. ❏

Photo by Mike Scheid

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