There is a saying that goes; “Blood is thicker than water”. This ancient proverb of German origins emphasises the strength and importance of family bonds. Arguably this is true for most people in the world but it never resonated with me. I have never fully believed in the strength of [my] family and I adore my friends more than my family. Will I pick my friends over my family? Probably. Funny thing is I don’t really miss my family (well maybe I just don’t miss my parents) when I travel but I miss my close friends all the time.
About two weeks ago, my flatmate’s parents came to visit her in London and I was very excited to meet them as I have spoken to them over Skype for several months and I finally got to meet them. When we arrived at Heathrow to pick them up, I was very envious of the relationship my flatmate had with her family. She has a close relationship with both her parents and older sister. They are a very close knit family even though it is filled with the usual family drama that plagues every family.
Growing up, my family wasn’t very close. My parents were never the people to show affection to each other at home or any where. This was very ironic given the fact that they were high school sweet hearts. All my other uncles and aunts show some affection at home even if it subtle. I used to admire my uncles and aunts and wish my parents will be some what affectionate. Or they could at the very least they can call each other sweetie or honey or any variation of the sugar coated terms of endearment.
When my uncles and aunts fight or argue, they will make up in a couple of hours and everything goes back to “normal” (whatever that means). That cannot be said for my parents. They usually will not talk to each other for days (my dad usually left home and stayed somewhere else) and sometimes weeks over something very petty and it usually required multiple interventions from different family members. Imagine growing up in such a household. There was always tension
The only time they put on a united front was when my sisters and I were being punished or we had to go to family events or when we have family stay over with us for the holidays. Family vacations usually involved road trips to Canada or some where on the north eastern seaboard of the United States. These trips were often plagued with parental quarrels such as my parents yelling at each other or dad yelling at us to stop dancing when he’s driving or telling us its rude to have our headphones on in the car. Sometimes it was very quite in the car as no one will be talking to each other. Vacations were always cut short as it got so bad sometimes that we would drive back a day or two early. I can’t even remember the last time we went on a family vacation.
I remember when my family was driving/dropping off to start my first year at university, there was a major hissy fit throughout the journey about how far my school was and how long it was going to take to get us there. There was also along long argument about when to take a break. I used to tell my younger sister that I was adopted and that we were not actually related. She used to get angry and cry all the time because I told her we are not related.
So every time I see families on vacation looking happy or being close, I get jealous and sad. I always wonder why wasn’t my family like this? I know no family is perfect but why wasn’t my family “normal” (whatever normal means). Why could we just get along just to keep up appearances. The current state of my family is well….My parents are separated/divorced and cannot be in the same room together. It was an awkward state of affairs at my university graduation during the spring of 2012.
My dad and I used to be close but we drifted apart when he refused to support me when I decided not to become a medical doctor. It took him some time to come around but we are not as close as we use to be. We barely talk to each other as we both said some angry things to each other a while back. I try to initiate conversations with him but he doesn’t reciprocate so I don’t call him anymore and he doesn’t even bother calling me. The last time we spoke was about three months since we last spoke.
My mother and I didn’t get along much but we started to during my senior year of high school. We became close throughout my undergraduate years but now we are beginning to fall apart simply because she refuses to accept the fact that I don’t want to live with her anymore and also due to the fact that she is using me (recently learned that she has always been using me) as a pawn in a legal battle with my dad. My sisters and I are very close. My older sister and I have been close but didn’t get close with my younger sister till I moved to university. Since then we have been catching up on all the time that has been lost.
Do I have good memories with my family? I’m sure I do, but 9+ years of dealing with parental quarrels and feuds have hidden (perhaps drowned) all the good memories. I know I want to have a family someday and hope to offer a loving home for my child (children?) and become a close knit family.