23 November 2011

holidays and family

This is a rant post for the most part....so mum and dad (and other relatives who may read), sorry - I just have to rant sometimes.

So it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thousands and thousands of people are traveling as we speak to get back to family, relatives. But another year goes by, and it's just the two of us, hub and I. I have a lot of bitterness sometimes when thinking about how distant my relatives can be most times towards my immediate family. Especially my dad's sister, my aunt, and my brother. I've always wished to have a extended family that is close to each other. Where I know all of my cousins well and they know me well, and we're like best friends. The only problem is that almost all of them are not close to my age, they're either way younger or way older. And that makes it hard to connect with them, IF we had better communication to begin with.

I feel as if my family has always been the "black sheep" of my entire family, on both sides, mum and dad's. I think sometimes it's because of politics or religion - which in my opinion is a sure fire way to end relationships, if one cannot abide the other. I always feel that the rest of my relatives have their own "circle" to worry about. Almost like 'clicks' in grade school.

I could never see myself and hub going to my dad's sister's house for holidays, even if she wanted us, which she doesn't. My brother and I have never ever been her 'favorite' niece and nephew. That title has always been reserved for her husband's daughter's children. My aunt to this DAY hasn't been able to spell Takeshi's name right. My 80-something year old grandmother says it fine.

What's my aunt's excuse? It's pretty easy to see that it's because she doesn't give a rat's ass. What's more important? To ramble ON and ON about her adopted son, who lives in San Francisco who is ALSO a chef, like hub.

The thing she chose to do recently made my blood boil. A little while ago my grandfather passed away. My dad and mum had coincidently planned to fly to the States to begin with for their usual visit to the States. My aunt had been talking with my father about the funeral arrangements and such and I believe he had informed of which day they would be flying in. So please schedule the funeral on a day after they've arrived to the States, so they can attend. (Nevermind the sad fact that my dad hadn't been able to be there when his father passed away.)

This women, his OWN SISTER, "forgets" the dates my dad gave her, and schedules the funeral on the day before they're supposed to land in the States.

So because my aunt didn't think TWICE about re-asking him about the dates - my father is not able to attend his own father's funeral.

My father may not get too hot over it, but I sure as hell am. That's lower than low. You would THINK that the one person who'd look out for you, so you can make your parent's funeral, is your sibling. But that doesn't happen in our family too often.

Sometimes I really think we're all not made of the same blood. It's ridiculous. I'll probably never forgive her for it. Not that she and I were great girlfriends before.

On my mother's side I have my 2 uncles, and 2 cousins.

My one uncle (mum's oldest brother) and aunt live in the same state as us. I'm very grateful that they seem to genuinely like Takeshi. It's a lovely change from my dad's sister. Last year they actually did ask us to come over for Thanksgiving. We ended up declining because we had already made plans to cook at home (again, we never expect relatives to call us for this reason). This year we haven't heard from anyone, and I'm afraid that since we said "no" last year, that that was our last chance. Hence the no asking-again this year. I like my aunt and uncle and would like to see them more often.

This goes for my uncle's son, my cousin, as well, and his wife. I've never known my cousin really well, but they're lovely people. And they also seem to like Takeshi some. My cousin and I are far apart in age. So this makes it's hard to find things to talk about. Their professions are totally different, they have more money than we do. They're not struggling financially, they a social life. They have a better life, as far as I can see it. Conversation just ends up dying after a while. I feel bad. I feel like a little kid compared to them. How can we ever stack up? It's awkward.

With my mother's side of the family, I always wonder if they only contact hub and me to get together out of some obligation. "It's the nice thing to do." But we're not FAMILY family. We're not at their 'core'. So I wonder if they really like us being there, or if they take pity on us, since my mum and dad don't live in the same country right now.

I want to be wanted by my relatives. As much as I want to be asked over for the holidays, I am NOT going to call them up and invite myself. "Can we come over this year for Thanksgiving??" - It seems so pathetic of me to beg them. And I feel that since all of my relatives know and relate to my parents more - that without them in the States right now - I don't have a lot of 'pull'. How can I ever cross their mind NOW, since my parent's aren't physically here to invite over. I feel that since my parents moved overseas for my dad's job, that they are out of sight out of mind to our relatives for the most part - and so is my brother and I. It's as if we went and moved with them.

I envy people who have families and relatives that cherish each other and have each other over for the holidays (or during rest of the year, even). I daydream about it sometimes.

But you know what? We DO have family members who truly want us - it's just that they don't live in the same country. Takeshi's family would DEFINITELY have us over for every holiday no matter what, if we lived close by still. GOD I miss my Japanese relatives! Lol.

So, in closing I'd just like to say that, again, this was a rant. A way to get this off my shoulders and speak my mind. I hope to not offend any of my relatives who read this. (but how many of them do, anyway???) I always welcome a chance to strengthen bonds with family and friends, since these relationships are important to me.

In the future, Takeshi and I will have a little family of our own one day. But until then, it's just the two of us. Hopefully soon it'll be the three of us, because I'm desperately wanting a doggie! ;)


Judith said...

And here I was ranting about the lack of hot water...

I know what you mean though. I am missing out on a lot of family celebrations and occasions because I cannot just drop by. But it's really sad to hear that you would have the opportunity, but they don't invite you. Then again, I am not particularly close with my aunts and uncles, but if I would announce that I would swing by for any holiday, I don't think they would raise an eyebrow. They are just so used to me not being there that they wouldn't even think about inviting me.

Maybe call them up next year and talk about how you don't have plans yet. That might get you an invitation. And don't worry about being pathetic. I don't think you are. I think it's very natural to want to spend time with your family.

ag said...

I understand.
(Rambling text has been turned on)
But I also have learned to tuck all of this away, and it does not faze me in the least. I would not appreciate an invite from my sis, mainly because I think that without mom and pop around, we would not have seen her as often as we did. Not that once or twice a year can be called "often". ;)
So I go through life without so much as a thought about any of this, because my life is too short to be wishing or wanting to be "included". In my sister's case, we live on very different planets. She may as well have dropped off a mother ship and fell to earth. I find her political and religious beliefs horrifying, and so there is no remorse, no wishing, and no relationship, save for the womb.

Am I a crass and bitter old man? I think not, but I can see how some who have better siblings might recoil when confronted with my attitude. "How can you be that way, towards your own flesh and blood?", they would say. Well, let me just say that after 60 years of being on this planet with my sis, it is really very easy to come to the conclusion that any time I spend trying to communicate on anything more than the most simplistic level would be an exercise akin to spitting into a strong breeze.

So, be strong in your own self. It is nice to find friends, especially so amongst one's relatives. But the onus is on them to come half way. Do not pine away over what is not, or may never be. Live in the present, and learn from the past. But do not dwell on the past too long. Look to the future with confidence in yourself. Do not waste too much time waiting for others to include or like you. It is futile and wearies the mind. Use the energy you would spend on that to expand yourself, through new friends, experiences, and challenges.

Ramble off.

-phx- said...

I've missed out on many family celebrations as well, but mostly because i've been too far away to just come home for the holidays. Now, especially. Being an ocean away from your family really puts a damper on things, huh? I'm sorry to hear though that the family you do have near you is that way.. :( I've always been able to look to my friends as a sort of family away from home. Do you have any close friends in similar situations as you? Maybe you can join together and be each others' "families" for the holidays.

Also, try reaching out to your mom's side of the family. Send them a holiday card, and make a note saying you miss them and you'd like to see them more. And try sending an occasional card throughout the year too, for a birthday or other holiday or whatever, just to let them know you're thinking about them. Whether they're inviting you out of obligation or not, i can't say, but i think it's a pretty good sign that they're thinking about you enough to ask. :)

I'll be trying my best to enjoy my first overseas Thanksgiving.. I hope you can enjoy yours as well! With a chef for a hub, i'm sure you'll have an amazing spread! :D