Another new year, Rosh Hashanah, another family fight. My family has never congregated at a family function without getting into a verbal boxing match. It is the same scene every time; no one realizes that it will never be resolved. So why don’t we all just forget it and start anew? I don’t really know why, I only wish it would change.
Last year on Rosh Hashanah, my extended family dined at Mom’s Diner, my uncle’s restaurant. My brother, Jordan, my two cousins, Isabella and Carter, and I sat behind the counter playing with the soda fountain. All of a sudden Isabella and I heard a sound like an animal caught in a trap. My mom and aunt scurried to the kitchen like mama bears rescuing their cubs. Jordan screamed, “CARTER BIT ME!” and Carter hollered, “JORDAN PUNCHED ME!” Once again Isabella and I attempted to stay out of the family drama and snuck back to the table. Shaking my head, I asked, “Why does this always have to happen when we are together?” Uncertain, Isabella responded, “That’s just us being us. Fireworks exploded as tempers flared. Hollering like a fog horn, my aunt screamed, “Jordan, why do you always ruin our family events?” Sitting in silence, Jordan stared into space as comments bounced around like on a trampoline. That night we escaped with nothing resolved, but with everlasting resentment.
Around Thanksgiving of last year, I emailed my aunt pleading for her to understand our individuality. Contradicting herself, she replied, “I miss and care about all of you, but your brother needs to grow up.” However, she never picked up the phone, apologized to my brother, or invited us for Thanksgiving. For Hanukah, our gifts were concealed at a relative’s house, like government secrets waiting to be exposed. Birthdays passed, Passover passed, holidays passed, as we spent these family times alone.
Determined to try again, my dad, brother and I decided eat at the diner with my dad’s side of the family. Shockingly, I commented, “It all went smoothly, but what a sad statement that families have to go a year in silence to be compatible.” With some tension, we all got a long…it was a refreshing as a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.
Just last week my aunt called my mom, the first time both of them talked in a year. Thanksgiving now came with an invitation for us. “Really?” I questioned in disbelief. “She did” my mom replied. This invitation revealed an attempt to put the weapons away and make peace. I truly believe that a family should care about one another for it only makes them stronger. Family can illustrate the importance of stability, kindness, caring, and love in everyone’s lives. Family bonds build strong, lasting foundations. It is important to teach these values to all family members for years to come. When one has a strong family it is a good foundation for life. This I believe.
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