In the 12 years I’ve been friends with Julian, I’ve never met his extended family — until today. I’ve met Garza’s family numerous times and know them fairly well. I think it’s a bit odd, but whatever. Today was the Super Bowl — which calls for a few beers and lots of food. I dig it. Everyone I met was very nice and welcoming — going as far as to get me another beer after I finished mines. Their hospitality is great and very much appreciated. It was also his grandpa’s birthday which called for celebrations and a lot of singing. It’s fun to be apart of. To think, these people who I just met go out of their way for me to make me feel comfortable. There’s a lot of Spanish spoken, but I understand more than I let on.
It’s a stark contrast to my own family, who usually throw criticism and other negative comments my way. I think in their eyes, I’m unusual or the black sheep — which is somehow an excuse to lack common decency and respect. My mom’s side of the family are the worst offenders. Now I understand where she gets it from. In the words of 50 Cent, “I am what I am. You can hate it or love it.” And hate they do. My parents use to convince me that other people were no better off than we were. That they were somehow just like them. I’ve gotten older and realized this is all bullshit and just another way of indoctrinating me. Fuck that mentality. I couldn’t give them any of my time now or later.
I’ve harbored a bit of jealousy for my closest friends for as long as I’ve known them. To have this family dynamic full of support and compassion that I’ve always lacked from my own. I am jealous. But this is just the way life goes. I remember after one long night of drinking, Garza told me something that stuck.
“We’re your family.”
Indeed you are. Who cares if family life is less than perfect. I have something better to make up for it.