Our Thanksgiving gathering was, I imagine, no different from many others all over the country. The 10 year old boys were inseparable, watching anime, playing video games and running all over the yard. They were born a week apart and see each other during holidays and shared family vacations. The toddler alternated between mimicking the big boys and charming the adults gathered at the kitchen table. The newly minted teen didn't quite know where to place herself, spending half the time babysitting the littlest one and the other half texting her girlfriends. The grown ups slipped into roles with ease, as cooks, dishwashers, storytellers, photographers/videographers, and spouses that wisely kept out of the way.
We were like so many other families yet look more closely at photos taken and discover that we were not your Norman Rockwell clan. None of us were related. We were all friends of the hosting couple. Gather basic information and realize that neither were we ordinary. There is the gay couple and their adopted boys who welcomed the rest of us to their table. There is the gay couple's oldest friends, an American woman, her Spanish husband and their son. There is the middle-aged widow, another long-time friend and Sunday School teacher to the men's sons. There is the interracial couple and their daughter. And there is John and me, the homosexual, interracial pair.
Many would argue that we were not a family gathered for Thanksgiving. But I beg to differ. The abundance of stories, laughter, dancing, warmth and affection attests to our bonds. We were a family by choice and circumstance much like many other "alternative" families that are more common than some people would like to think. And we are grateful for each other.