“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Families. Families are strange. Families are complicated. Every family is different but everyone experiences low points and hight points. It’s amazing how, when it comes to family, we feel such a range of strong emotions. In one moment who can despise them utterly and in the next, can feel a crushing wave of love. Like it or not, they form us and structure our identity and how we like think of ourselves.
Walking to lunch one day I wasn’t having the best day at work and felt lonely and distant, despite being in a place that was intensely familiar to me and a place I thought of as my home town. A sharp beep from a passing car brought me tumbling out of my conceited thoughts. Thinking it wasn’t for me I kept my gaze straight ahead. But someone was waving from the car and turning to look I realised it was a close relative of mine, beaming at me from the car. It’s a strange feeling to pin down the sudden emotion I felt but that sense of family, that sense of someone caring about you unconditionally; who considered you an important element of their lives; and most important, their family caused me to, startled, to immediately smile and wave back. In a moment my spirits were lifted as I was reminded who I was in relation to someone else and that gave me comfort and security. The thought of my family and close relatives solidified my identity and reassured me in a way that the familiar surroundings of my home town and routine could not. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had been walking down some road in China, where ever I go they are still my family.
Now I know, that some people will say that their family ruined their lives or that they don’t get along with them for various reasons. But people still find themselves family-sick or missing them even though it may be romaticised to some extent. The children of terrible parents or parents who suffer from addiction will still find themselves forgiving them or reaching out to them. It’s a strange phenomenon and is something that is rarely seen among friends and even best friends. Having family teaches you that you can intensely hate someone and intensely love them in the same moment. Maybe it’s because we have experienced so much with them and that they know intimate details, weaknesses about us that we feel others outside of our family would not tolerate. They know what we have seen and been through. That’s the most inner circle though, our immediate family and very close relatives. Sometimes those are people in our lives that have no blood connection but have become welded to us and our understanding of ourselves through experiences. – Mínseach