We Are a Family.

I love the holidays.  LOVE.  I think I became obsessed with them sometime after I left home for college…there is something about that crisp, cold air, contrasted against the warmth of friends and family (combined with copious amounts of food) that just makes my heart sing.

Always the producer, I like to plan.  That is basically what producing is anyway, planning, planning some more, getting a call at midnight saying your plan has gone to sh*t and you need to come up with a new plan by 10am the following day, and then coming up with a new plan.  As frustrated as failed plans can make me – the act of planning is to me what saying the Rosary is to my grandmother…to do so, just makes me feel better. 

So on my walk home from work today – more than a week away from Halloween, I began to think about (obsess about) our holiday card this season. 

I need something poignant, yet humorous…obviously with a photo of Ellie to brighten everyone’s holidays even a bit more…And how shall I sign it?  The Lemieux Family?  It’s so weird…my parents are the center of the Lemieux Family…and the fact that I have never been married means that I am still technically part of that family…but Ellie and I are our own family unit, and If I don’t embrace the fact that we, the two of us, are a family, Ellie never will.  So from now on…we will sign all appropriate things, “The Lemieux Family”. Glad I solved that.  2 months before Christmas.

Okay – I will sign things like that until I get married…because despite the fact that I have told every single man I have ever dated (or not dated) that I won’t change my last name because “I have a baby and an Emmy with my name on it”…something has shifted in me as of late, and when I find the right man, I want to take his last name.  I know my friends are probably shocked, wondering what has gone awry and if I am also tossing aside my Birkenstock sandals.  The very short answer is no, I haven’t.  I just realized when I get married, I want to be all in. 

But that is not the topic of this post…or maybe it is in someway. 

So when I walked in the door from work this evening, I said hello to Ellie, and she shouted (as she always does), “Mommy’s home!!!!” and she added, “I need Mommy!”  And I smiled and said, “I need Ellie too!”

Work has been particularly time consuming lately, last night I didn’t get home till midnight, and even though Ellie came to visit me at the office for dinner, Jillian told me she was sad in the cab ride home because I didn’t come home with her.  And even when I’ve been home in the evening, I’ve been distracted by the details of producing.  Things were pretty quiet at the office for me this evening, so tonight, I sent a few more emails off, posted a cool photo from a shoot I did to my Facebook page, and I let my phone die for a couple hours. 

It felt nice.  I was 100% focused on Ellie. 

Ellie on the other hand was 100% focused on watching Elmo.  So after I got her ready for bed, and I marveled at how well she manages the bedtime routine on her own…knowing its time to brush her teeth and put on her pajamas…I looked for an episode of Sesame Street on Netflix, and I came across a three part series titled, Gina Adopts a Baby, and I honestly felt as if God was personally answering my prayers.  My gut told me that this series would explain non-traditional families in an age appropriate fashion…something we all know I have been trying to figure out how to do.

Although Gina adopts a baby and I carried Ellie, the family dynamic is the same – Gina is a single mom with a child, and everyone around Sesame Street is very excited for the baby’s arrival.  At one point in the show, Elmo and his friends start singing a song about family, and Elmo says he has a mom and a dad, and that’s his family, and Marco has a Mom and that’s his family, and a family is people that we live with that love us.  Ellie was dancing around saying the word family over and over.

I honestly felt like a weight had been lifted off my heart. 

So I sat down next to her and said, “You know who is in your family?  Ellie and Mommy!  Yay!  And we love each other!  We are a family Ellie!” 

And Ellie said, “And Jilly too?” 

Jilly – or Jillian as she is more commonly known, is the person that watches Ellie while I am at work.  The person that Ellie yells, “Goooooooommmooooorning Jilly!” when she walks in the door, and the one that tells Ellie she loves her when she leaves in the evening.

“Yes Ellie,” I said, getting goosebumps, “Jilly is in our family too,”  thinking, Ellie gets it.  She totally gets it.  Here I am focusing on what isn’t perfect and when Ellie is explained what a family is and then asked who is in her family, she names the two people that love her and are with her every day. 

“Okay,” Ellie said, “Mommy, Ellie, Jilly in my family.” 

And I said, “Yes Ellie.  Exactly.”


Ellie and Mom just visiting a co-worker and seeing if he has any toys he can share with her.