But in the real world, you couldnt really just split a family down the middle, mom on one side, dad the other, with the child equally divided between. It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two: no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right again. It was what you couldn't see, those tiniest of pieces, that were lost in the severing, and their absence kept everything from being complete.
For me, family means the silent treatment. At any given moment, someone is always not speaking to someone else.'Really,' I said.We're passive-aggressive people,' she explained, taking a sip of her coffee. 'Silence is our weapon of choice. Right now, for instance, I'm not speaking to two of my sisters and one brother... At mine [my house], silence is golden. And common.'To me,' Reggie said, picking up a bottle of Vitamin A and moving it thoughtfully from one hand to the other, 'family is, like, the wellspring of human energy. The place where all life begins.'...Harriet considered this as she took a sip of coffee. 'Huh,' she said. 'I guess when someone else does something worse. Then you need people on your side, so you make up with one person, jsut as you're getting pissed off at another.' So it's an endless cycle,' I said.I guess.' She took another sip. 'Coming together, falling apart. Isn't that what families are all about?
She smiled, pulling the photo a little closer, and I wondered if I should ask her, too, the question for my project, get her definition. But as she ran a finger slowly across the faces, identifying each one, it occurred to me that maybe this was her answer. All those names, strung together like beads on a chain. Coming together, splitting apart, but still and always, a family. (page 289) ~Ruby
I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be one of so many, to have not just parents and siblings but cousins and aunts and uncles, an entire tribe to claim as your own. Maybe you would feel lost in the crowd. Or sheltered by it. Whatever the case, one things was for sure: like it or not, you'd never be alone.
Well,' she said, adjusting a pot lid, 'I have my family of origin, which is you and Mom. And then Jaime's family, my family of marriage. And hopefully, I'll have another family, as well. Our family, that we make. Me and Jaimie.'Now I felt bad, bringing this up so soon after Jamie's gaffe. 'You will,' I said.She turned around, crossing her arms over her chest. 'I hope so. But that's just the thing, right? Family isn't something that's supposed to be static or set. People marry in, divorce out. They're born, they die. It's always evolving, turning into something else. even that picture of Jamie's family was only the true representation for that one day. But the next , someone had probably changed. It had to.'...Later, when the kitchen had filled up with people looking for more wine, and children chasing Roscoe, I looked across all the chaos at Cora, thinking that of course you would assume our definitions would be similar, since we had come from the same place. But this wasn't actually true. We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone's eyes. Our definitions were as different as we were ourselves.