Our people

My friends are my estate.

-Emily Dickinson

Lately, and for no particular reason, I have been thinking a lot about what makes a community.  I had breakfast with four dear friends on Saturday. As I looked around the table at the faces of women who, with each passing year, remind me more of their beautiful mothers, it struck me that I was the only one at the table who hasn’t yet added “orphan” to the list of titles written on her soul. When it is, they’ll be there.

How do I know? Because these women are my people.

This morning, a younger relative who is an ally to my two adult children of color in all the best ways, told me she is trying hard to be a better one in the lives of the people of color she loves. She does not know how much this means to me, and when I try to tell her, I stumble. I tell her that my kids know she gets it, which is true. I don’t tell her how lonely it so often is to be the educator or bigger person or have to constantly choose which conversations to have with well-meaning friends or family members. That I am, more than anything else, grateful to not feel so alone.

This woman is one of my people, too.

I think of all of the women I’ve known throughout my life who’ve loved me, steadied me, and been my friend through thick and thin. Women who know my secrets and guard them as closely as I guard theirs. Who don’t judge when I am impossible or unreasonable or just, well, me. Women who’ve walked the transracial adoption road with me and understand that mothering this way is both the same and different. Very few of these women share my DNA, but they are still my sisters.  Every one.

Things get complicated when a baby is born “breech” with her legs twisted up around her ears. If we’re lucky, we come into this world head first, looking toward the light. And if we’re lucky, we leave the way we came. Facing forward and clear eyed. Sliding out instead of yanked.

And in between the coming and the going, there are our people.

If we’re very, very, lucky.





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