My Other Family

My aunt, uncle, and cousins from Peru moved here recently to start a new life. They’re a bit eccentric, but I’ll pass that off as differences in culture more than anything. Oh wait, but there’s more. My aunt, uncle, and cousin from China arrived here yesterday night. Just like that, my extended family grew by 5 and 3 respectively. It’s a lot to take in and all so suddenly.

My cousin Diana (it’s not really her English name but that’s a good approximation) looks so much like me. It’s scary, but that’s to be expected. It’s exactly like that episode of The Rugrats where Tommy meets his extended family from the countryside.

All my life, I’ve only known my dad’s side of the family. My beloved grandpa and grandma, aunts and uncles are from his side. I’ve never really gave it much thought as a kid — it’s just how it was for the longest time. And I’m fine with that. They are as they’ve always been, the family I love.

Just like that, it’s all different now. Call me surprised. I’m frankly not sure how to react. Should I be excited? Happy and overjoyed? I understand we’re all blood related, but I don’t know a thing about them. Language is also an issue since my Chinese is passable at best. They went from the rural countryside to the suburbs of San Gabriel Valley. Go figure. We all live blocks away from each other so they’ll be around a whole lot. From the chats I’ve had, they’ve made it abundantly clear I’m the black sheep of the family, but I am what I am. Guess I’m subverting everyone’s expectations a bit more than they expected. I mean, I grew up here all my life. What did you really expect? Everyone thinks I’m hilarious, which is nice to hear.

Questions I’ve been asked repeatedly:

  • Why do you wear earrings?
  • What’s that necklace for?
  • Why are you so tan?
  • Are you seeing anyone?
  • Do you remember *insert random family I met as a child and obviously do not remember*?

One of best aspects of getting older is gaining new perspectives. I’m wiser and more welcoming to other outlooks. It’s a very good thing. With the additions to my family, it all kind of makes sense why my mom is the way she is. Bitter. Cold. Withdrawn. She gave up all her family to move here with my dad. When her relationship with him and everyone took a turn for the worst, I can only assume it made her very unhappy and depressed — trapped even. For that, I’ll give her a pass for being just awful and terrible for all these years. I get it now. And fuck me for suddenly realizing.

She seems a lot happier and talkative — more so than any other month or year even. Does this excuse her for being an absent mother? Nope, never. If my former years of being a Christian were anything, I’ll learn to forgive her and forget it happened. My beloved grandpa use to tell me repeatedly, “You’re stuck with them forever. Might as well try to get along or at least fake it.” With that, life is too short to go on being bitter even just a little bit. Even my mom is making a turn for the better. Guess I needed this since we all deserve to be happy.

Later world.

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