Zoe and Family

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I’m down at the local dog park with Zoe at the moment. It’s dark, there’s no lights in the park, and we’re the only ones here. The above photo is from a short camping trip we did recently; Zoe, myself, Rose, and my sister. It’s the first time I’ve been camping with her, she really loved it. Sharing the responsibility between three of us helped no end as well. She’s been going pretty well lately. There’s a bit of a routine settling in, she gets a lot of walks or run time each week. She’s still not as happy as I’d like to see her, but with my small yard and no other dogs for company, I think this is as good as it gets for her for now. Hopefully in the future her world will be a bit brighter…

Change is afoot. The three of us (well, and Zoe) are talking about moving in together. Rose and I want to share a house and settle into living together as we make plans for a baby in the future. My sister is a wonderful person and loves kids too, having her so close could help so much to stabilise and strengthen our family. I’ve been reading lately about different family structures, families where kids have two mums, or two mums and a dad, or two mums and two dad’s all living together or close by and all sharing the load. It’s really exciting to me, this shift away from a single person or pair being responsible for everything about a child. We used to have extended family networks involved, a whole tribe of people present and invested. Blood family isn’t always a good option for that. Being able to form your own tribes makes all the sense in the world to me.

The choices before us about housing are difficult. There’s very few ways we can move forward and all retain some housing security. Moving my beautiful, hard working, slightly vulnerable girlfriend into my little unit with my homophobic neighbour is a poor option. Bouncing between two houses with both of us working so much at the moment is getting harder and harder. She was going to visit tonight but didn’t sleep well after a night shift. So I’m here at the dog park in the dark, while she’s at her house trying to get a few more hours at least until she’s safe to drive. I don’t have enough money for fuel to collect her. I wish we were close, wish I could just sit in her bed and plait her hair. I wish I wasn’t looking at giving up a ten year lease in my unit for the hope of a future that might collapse in so many different ways. I wish the risks were smaller.

For now, we think, and plan, and dream, and look around at how other people are doing this, the many creative ways families are made, love patchworking our fragmented culture back together. Somewhere between the love that binds us and the need for freedom there is a way to love and be loved with integrity and creativity. For now, things are good.

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