The latest blog post by katherineisawesome inspired me to write this post. She will probably hate me for writing this, but she is my cousin.
I quote some (edited) paragraphs from her post:
"One of my aunts is making a prawn salad and another is making this potato dish which is basically 50% cream and butter, 50% potato so it’s likely I’ll feel ill around 10:00pm. I’m pretty sure this is the first year we’re not doing extended family presents which is good, because we’re all too old for it, but odd, because what are we going to do with the time we’d usually spend giving out all those gifts? (I have a lot of relatives on this side of the family).
My first cousins seem pretty different to James and I. James and I are like those family members that no one really understands. I’m sure that I’ll get asked what I do (‘what’s a blog?’) again this year, James will get hit up about his tattoos and we’ll both give each other the knowing side-eye when it happens. There’s something kind of nice about how predictable it is. I like it.
By around midnight I’m sure that we’ll all be ready to leave. I’ll give my grandmother a goodbye hug because she’s cute and it’s what I’ve always done. (I know it’s probably what most people do, but for some reason, hugs have never been a thing with my extended family – only with me and James and my paternal grandparents.) I’ll walk out the door, full and content. And that’ll be it – this Christmas over, on to the next."
This made me think a lot about home and family, more so than in previous Christmases. The fact that I won't be there with my Mum, and her family, eating that lovely prawn salad and cream potato dish, soaking up the festive moods, chatting with my cousins and Aunties and Uncles.
I'm always conscious of the fact that I am not at all close with my first cousins. I've seen countless number of nappy changes, tantrums, laughter and sadness. However, despite all this, we have all grown apart. I still remember having weekly family dinners at my Grandfather (who has passed on) and Grandmother's house. The adults and the children sat at different tables, and it felt homely. As we got older, married, some of us have our own families, some of us moved away from the nest, we didn't meet up as frequently.
James and Katherine are no different from the rest of us. They hold a special bond that only a brother and a sister can have. I envy their close relationship, as me being an only child is something that I can never experience. The only reason why we tend to ask the same questions everytime we meet is because we don't really have anything else (in common) to talk about. I guess it's like bumping into an acquaintance and talking about the weather.
It's true though, hugs have never been a thing with my extended family. Why, I am not too sure. Maybe it's because when our parents were young, affection wasn't the done thing. In the old days, Chinese families were never affectionate with each other. Whenever we meet up, we say a cheerful hi, and a cheerful bye when we leave. I guess it's like an unspoken rule, like when you've done something wrong, and your parents give you the 'evil eye'. My maternal grandparents are the only ones that I've hugged at our extended family gatherings.
One thing I'd like you to take away from this post is, don't take your family for granted, get to know them, what they do for a living, if they don't want to talk then that's okay. Ring or visit your grandparents and parents every week.
Even if family relocate overseas for one reason or another, it doesn't mean that they are not contactable. In these modern times there's Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and even old-fashioned email.