Family: More than Just a Memory

Gabriel - Darien, Illinois
Entered on April 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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For the majority of my life, the word “family”, not counting those living with me, was just a distant memory of the people that I had not seen for ten years. For me, having an extended family was just a memory of a four week vacation of four week vacation 2000 miles away when I was six years old and a phone call every month or so. I never had the luxury of going to an uncle’s house for a Christmas meal or having family outings. It was always just my small family of four at our dining room table. I really wished that I had been able to spend more of my life with them.

This issue of having a distant extended family never really bothered me until I started having a lot more friends with family that also live in other countries. They occasionally mentioned going on vacation to visit they family every single year. I realized I had only seen my family about five times, all within the first six years of my life. What agitates me about the whole situation is that we did not visit our extended family in Venezuela because of a financial situation. It was mostly because we would take our summer vacations in other parts of the world, like Spain, France, Italy, and Germany on different instances. I also realized that although I loved my distant family, I never got to really know them and I only had faint memories of them. This made me want to visit them again.

I was really excited when I was told that I would be visiting them in the summer of 2007. I was finally going to see them again after all of these years. When we arrived at the Caracas airport, more and more memories of my distant family began to arise and I was very eager to meet each of my dad’s seven brothers and sisters. They were very loving and caring, just as I had remembered them. They were very interesting and they taught me a lot about their lives and how people lived there. I also found out that many of my cousins shared the same interests as me and I befriended them easily. I really enjoyed spending time with them and it felt great to visit them and see them again.

The main lesson that I learned from that trip is that my family should really play a much bigger role in my life then I previously thought they should. I realized that I want to be like some of my friends and frequently visit them. I also realized that I will still want to be in frequent contact with them for the long run and that I will want my children to be in contact with them as well. I really want my parents to take us there again every summer and so far it seems like we will. In fact, we visited part of my mother’s side of the family over Christmas break 2007 in Florida, and we will probably see them again in the summer.

I believe that one’s family should really play an important role in one’s life. I am not too saddened with the fact that I do not see my extended family often, since in a way, I believe it makes the trips better and much more fun. Many take their family for granted, while I am just grateful that I have been able to see them, and have had long lasting memories of them, with many more to come.