What is Home?


family In the last three weeks, I have moved, and two people who are very close to me have also moved. That includes my mother, who is moving out of the home I grew up in and getting remarried. All of this shifting and changing has got me thinking about what ‘home’ even means.

Thinking about what it means that my mom will be married to someone not my dad is also strange to think about, especially as an adult child. What will his role in my life be? I’m done being parented. I live thousands of miles away. It’s foreign territory for all of us.

As a child you develop a concept of what ‘home’, ‘family’, and ‘parents’ mean. For me those words meant my house, my parents and brothers, all living together. That’s how my life worked and it’s how most of my friends’ lives worked. After my parents got divorced in my early twenties those concepts had to change and shift. And that was hard. Some of my most deeply engrained assumptions were challenged in some serious ways. Now that is happening again. Since moving away, coming ‘home’ has meant coming to my house that I grew up in and hanging out with my mom. Soon it will mean coming to my mom’s new house with her new husband.

Don’t get me wrong; I am very happy that she is happy. She has found a great guy who will take great care of her, and she will take great care of him. It just means a lot of changes.

Some of these changes have implications from a Church perspective. I know that my connection to my mom is intact even though my parents’ sealing has been canceled (at least that’s what my bishop tells me). But now that she is being sealed to someone else, what will my connection to him be? And her fiancé hasn’t been able to get his sealing to his ex-wife canceled, so what does that mean for my family, specifically my mom?

All of these questions are illustrative of the problems and inconsistencies with the Church’s current doctrine of families: ‘traditional’ families are they only correct way, but men can be sealed to multiple women, but we don’t practice polygamy any more!, but we don’t know what to tell you if your family doesn’t fit the mold; oh and men are supposed to preside over their families but we also don’t know what to tell you about blended families. All of this has left me with a lot more questions, and doubts, than answers about what a family is and how it is supposed to work. It has left me wondering where my place is.

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4 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Yes, this is a huge change for your family. Very complicated, particularly given the sealing situation. I’m kind of surprised that your bishop said that your sealing with your mom was intact. I thought that once the parents’ seal was broken, the seal to the kids was also. But I’m happy to be wrong on that one.

    Thinking about how complicated this sealing stuff is makes me realize the irony of the our sealing doctrine. What could in the “ideal” circumstance (nuclear familiy intact) be absolutely fantastic, hopeful and comforting, could in other circumstances be horrifying and anxiety-inducing (not being allowed to break your seal with an abusive husband, not being allowed to seal yourself to your second husband who is the father of your children, etc.)

    Good luck managing these changes. I hope that your mom’s new marriage will be terrific.

    • Spunky says:

      The church policy, from what I understand, is that the children are sealed to the MOTHER, rather than the father when a sealing is cancelled.

      • Madsenmel says:

        This is interesting, since when doing work for the dead in temples illegitimate children cannot be sealed to just the mother if the father is unknown, but children can be sealed to just the father if he is the only one who is known (they call the mother Mrs. Insert-Surname-Here, no matter what the circumstances). Patriarchy, again…

  2. Spunky says:

    Jess, I love that you wrote this. I have struggled with these thoughts as well, having moved twice in the last year. I feel a bit lost, yet comfortable– I wonder where my next home will be because I know now that this place is yet temporary. How soon will we leave? How connected should I become to the people and places here? It is a sense of ongoing displacement, and it is not soothing.

    I also have sealing questions. When we were looking into IVF and surrogacy– because we would not have to adopt a child born to us via a surrogate, does that mean the genetic child is therefore sealed to us? Or me? Or the surrogate? Is Jesus sealed to Mary as her son? After all, was she not a surrogate of sorts, having been …er….artificially inseminated? These questions formed much of my thoughts and prayers, and developed into frustrations– to the point that at this stage, I am not seeking to be sealed to my adopted daughters. Sealing them to me/us by a man who simply makes a pronouncement after such a long path of adoption almost seems to degrade and ignore the relationship we developed in blood, sweat, and tears all the while enduring years of bureaucracy. Its feels like a rubber stamp, rather than a blessing.

    So I am with you. Searching for home.

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