Earlier today, I was checking out the #solarpunkchat hashtag on Twitter and saw a call for papers about the topic of kinship and collectivization in literature (presumably, with a focus on solarpunk fiction). Specifically, it was focused on non-biological kinship. This got me thinking about the idea of kinship in my own context.
For a variety of personal and familial reasons that I don’t want to share here, it is looking more and more likely that D will be an only child. She is also very unlikely to have any cousins who live close to her. And, despite some admittedly half-hearted efforts, I don’t have close relationships with my own cousins (some of whom do have children of a similar age). This means that D is unlikely to have any biological relations who are close to her in age or circumstance.
How, then, do we give her the “sibling experience” without blood relations to fill the role? She will, undoubtedly, have friends. Everything I’ve read about only children suggests these friendships will mean more to her than they would for children with siblings. In my mind, however, this feels different than relationships one has with biological or adoptive relatives. Perhaps it shouldn’t feel different, but it does.
Because those eventual friendships seem somehow different from family, I’ve been thinking about how to create a kinship group that is not biological in origin. Mostly, I’ve been asking myself the question and not coming up with answers. How does one cultivate a non-biological kinship group within the context of a 21st century Canadian city? How does one create an intentional community without going to live on a commune?
I don’t have answers, so I’m asking you. What ideas do you have for me, dear readers?