I got to spend five days with my family over the holidays. I wasn’t planning on staying this long but since my brother, whom I hadn’t seen in over a year, made a last minute trip home, I decided to stay the week for Christmas. I grew up with what I consider a close family. We are not the perfect family. We don’t always show affection to each other but it doesn’t mean that we don’t care for one another. It has taken a lot of growing up for my five siblings, parents and myself to really appreciate the type of family that we have become. A family that is diverse in the way we think but ultimately united by our familial bond.
I sometimes look at other families and I notice how grateful I am for the one I have. I hear friends complaining about how they don’t get along with their siblings or their parents. I don’t always understand it but I am not in their situation. I have always seen my family like those few people who will share this unique life experience that no one else will ever understand and who will always have my back no matter what.
I don’t know if this is an Anglo thing or an American thing, but I notice in American media how families are portrayed as this complex unit who doesn’t always get along especially during the holiday season or funerals or any big family gathering. I notice how it seems like a forceful situation to go home to visit family. I get it that it’s the media and it’s make believe, but it comes from the culture because Americans relate these themes in movies or TV shows. But it’s not just the media. I often hear co-workers (mostly white) complain about their families. For me, it has always felt the opposite of forceful. If I don’t get to see them for periods of times, I feel like I am missing out. I don’t know if this is a Latino thing because family is usually an important aspect of who we are. And I am not saying that all Latino families get a long and it is just one big fiesta and everyone is all happy taking shots of tequila (although this latter part does happen at get togethers quite frequently). But what I have noticed in many Latino cultures is that, no matter what, family is number one especially during times like the holiday season. We go out of our way to be with family.
We want all of our family members to be gathered and just be there reminiscing about when we were younger and how back then we really couldn’t stand each other. Now in times of reunion, we look back at those moments and laugh at the stupid things we did. All those little moments that we couldn’t appreciate while we were growing up, we can now see them as fond memories. Memories that will be passed on to the nephews and nieces and the ever expanding family from those who are being introduced into our family. I appreciate my family and the moments that we have because I know this won’t always be the case. One thing I can say for certain is that I love my imperfect family just the way it is.