With the upcoming referendum on the law that would allow homosexuals to candidate for adoption, Slovenia catches itself in the cliché debates about the ‘natural’ and ‘normal’. You could find many adjectives to describe my family, but normal and functional do not come to mind.
By definition, I believe we come closer to being something which should not function, but somehow, almost magically, we do. My parents were never married and they separated after I was 2, and some cheating had been done on both parts, not by me of course. My mum married a man with two failed marriages and 2 kids from different wives. Mum got pregnant with twins, so in the time period of 2 years, I got 4 new brothers and sisters. This was pretty cool for a kid who was constantly bored and frustrated with her peers. It was also sort of overwhelming since there were suddenly 6 people living in our apartment, but somehow I got used to it, because that’s what kids do, they accept weird situations as normal.
When you are 4, and suddenly there is a man living with you that your brother and sisters are calling dad, but you know he’s not your dad, you find it a bit odd at first, but you get used to it. You accept this is your world now and you think this is all perfectly okay. And it is perfectly okay, because even though you know you’re not the same as other families, you show a middle finger to Tolstoy, because not all happy families are happy in the same way. Sometimes your brother and sisters and you have 2 dads, and 3 mums altogether, and then sometimes even your dad gets married and you have 2 more brothers, and now altogether 4 mothers, but it’s all perfectly fine. It’s not perfect, it’s complicated, and you constantly have to explain your situation to your rather slow peers why your sister does not share your last name, but it’s ok because you know they’re the slow ones. Sometimes the laws of attraction work in the way that you end up with 6 brothers and sisters, living together in separate cities, but hey, the more the merrier, right?
Divorce of course takes a toll on you, and once you become a teenager, you rebel against everything and everyone, but you quickly realise that everybody wants something to change in their lives. And you have so many people who care about you that you come to terms with the fact that you cannot change the choices your parents made and you wouldn’t want to. Not ever, because your sisters are beautiful and funny and smart and your brothers are a delight and bright. And all is good, even though you have more than one mum and dad.
If the main concern with the new equality law is that kids of gay couples will be teased, start raising emotionally intelligent children who will understand and who won’t bully. My situation is not an illustration of the fact that it is possible to grow up and not be totally messed up even when your family is complicated; it’s a message to those who think kids from such families will be confused. Yes, they will be, but no more than if you told them they can’t eat candy at every meal. Kids are sensitive, but they accept their realities as they are, and start understanding very quickly that the most important thing is that somebody loves and supports them, no matter the gender or the number of these individuals.