Family at Christmas

Spending time with family this holiday I was wondering what it was like to grow up in one culture, one country with certain expectations of your family, and then to be transplanted as an adult to another country. You’ve been here for multiple decades, but do those expectations of your family still exist?

Christmas was nice, but busy. I met my sister’s boyfriend’s mother and brother. I saw my son and spent Christmas morning with his family (and realized again as I always do when I get to spend time with them that I miss seeing them terribly). The mothers are devout non-Catholic Christian. At dinner with Doug’s mom and my mom sitting across from each other I hear Doug’s mom ask, So Sharon, when did you come to Christ? and I almost snorted water out of my nose. I’ve been telling all my friends because it’s such an incredulous question — to me anyway. And to most people I know. It’s a completely meaningless and non-sensical question if you yourself are not a devout Christian. But the two of them were dead serious about it.

It was nice to see my mother socializing with someone. Patty kept saying what a wonderful job she did raising us girls and all I could think was how superficial most relationships are. How when you first meet people all you really see is someone’s ability to be social and polite. Meeting the three of us — my mother, my sister and me, you’d have no idea the ways we hurt each other, the ways we’re cruel and disappoint. But I suppose that’s why familial relationships are so complex and painful — you don’t get to know most people that intimately, you don’t have to spend that much time with most people. But when you do, it’s equal parts heartache and unconditional love that make it worthwhile.

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