My family is the very essence of my being. Without them, I would be virtually nonexistent. Growing up, I was incredibly close to my mom’s side of the family and I never really saw much of my dad’s side. I am a very family oriented person and not growing up with my dad’s side of the family, caused me a lot of pain. I believe that every single person should be close to their family no matter what.
My mom’s side of the family was always there for me when I was growing up. I am really close to my grandparents and my aunt. They were usually the ones to babysit us when my parents went out. They spoiled us rotten. We saw them every single weekend. They were my favorite grandparents. My dad’s side of the family was a whole other story. We didn’t really see them that much when we were growing up. I always wished that we could be as close to them as we were with my mom’s side of the family. My mom and my dad’s side of the family are totally different. My mom’s side, The Eisenberg’s, are an uptight Jewish bunch, whereas my dad’s side, The White’s, are a laidback Christian family. They couldn’t be more opposite.
My parents never really enforced the whole “family is important” mantra. I have always felt that you should be close to your family. As I got older, I realized that we spent almost all of our time with my mom’s side of the family and we never really saw my dad’s side. I just had to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to be close to them as I was my mom’s parents. Whenever I had the opportunity to see my grandparents, I grabbed it. They meant the world to me and I wanted to spend every waking minute with them. My world simply revolved around them, but the older I got; the more I realized how naïve I was being. I would do whatever I could to please them, even if it meant lying. I was so wrapped up in their world; I didn’t have time to create my own. One single event changed all that.
Back in October, my mom got a phone call from my dad’s mom. She called to tell us that our Uncle Tim only had a day to live. She told us that he was on a morphine pump and he was taking a single breath every minute. The next day, my Aunt Jalane called us and told us that he had passed away that morning. The news devastated me. I was never particularly close to my Uncle Tim, or anyone on my dad’s side for that matter, but I felt a certain sense of heartache that I couldn’t explain. I felt like I betrayed my Uncle for not getting to know him. Since my Uncle lived in Texas, and the funeral was being planned for that week, my mom, my brother and I had to get a flight down there. I had a sense of guilt building up inside me and I wasn’t sure how the rest of the White family was going to react. I haven’t seen my cousins since I was five years old and I haven’t seen my aunts, uncles and grandparents since I was twelve so, I didn’t know what to expect when we got there.
When my mom, brother and I finally got to Texas and got to my Aunt Jan’s house, we were welcomed with open arms. I do have to admit though, that it was awkward at first, since I haven’t seen any of these people in such a long time. Since I wasn’t close to my grandparents and cousins, I didn’t know what to say to them. But, as the week moved on, I became less guarded and shy. It felt like I knew everyone at that house for a long time. I didn’t want to leave. I had so much more to learn about my dad’s side of the family. When I was in Texas, I learned more about myself in that week than I have in years. I felt at ease with myself and I realized that I should be thinking for myself and not for my mom’s parents. I was never judged by my dad’s side of the family and I could be myself. I didn’t have to put on an act just to please somebody. I was entirely myself. It was refreshing to be in an environment that was so laid back and not stuck up. I wanted to be a part of my dad’s side of the family more than ever. I wanted to know them like I knew my mom’s side.
Even though I didn’t grow up with my dad’s side of the family, I feel closer to them than I do with my mom’s side. There is something about my dad’s side of the family that I like better than my mom’s. When I talk to my cousin Jordan or to my grandparents, I see my own traits being shown through. I now know where I get my temper, my lack of holiday spirit and my so-called stubbornness.
My family means the world to me and I could never imagine my life without them, they are my heart and soul. They made me who I am today. I feel more at peace with myself now that I am closer to my dad’s side of the family. It was like half my soul was missing and when I got closer to my dad’s side, my soul became complete. My family and I share an unbreakable bond and I couldn’t ask for anything more. The bond people share with their families should last a lifetime. I believe that family should always be there for you, regardless of your beliefs, or inconsistencies. People go through friends like the seasons; no one can get rid of their family. Family should be there for you through thick and thin, they should never judge you and they should always love you. I love my family with every fiber of my being and I could never imagine my life with any other family.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.