Family

Brothers, Sisters & Cousins

Japji Sahib Wallpaper
Japji Sahib Wallpaper (Photo credit: Gurumustuk Singh)

As I did the Japji Sahib  today in the morning, I couldn’t help smiling inwardly at some of the funny, and loving things I have seen with my family this week. As I kept reading under a gloomy sky, I felt completely lit up inside. For the first time, I was reading the prayer without halting ( I don’t have it memorized). It struck me that I have a lot  cousins and their children in town.  At last count, 43 all together counting everyone living here. Yes! 43 which includes, kids of all ages from a 6 month old to 21 years.  That’s still only gets us to perhaps 1/2 of my family as half didn’t come. Yes, half.

To say my family is big is an understatement, but really to say that they are loved is an even bigger understatement.  I wish I could say that it was due to a special occasion such as a big birthday or wedding  that the family is here but in reality this regularly happens in my family.  My cousins have been coming to visit us for as long as we have been in California.  What’s really striking is that how much fun we have as a family. I don’t think I have laughed this much, well since, the last time they were here which was my wedding. Preeti joked that it felt like we are getting married all over again which made our 2nd anniversary even more memorable. What really warmed my heart was to see how much fun she has with my family too.

I realize now that although many have big families, what makes this more pleasurable for me is to see how close my parents were to their siblings.  It is their love for each other that has made us close to our cousins.  My mom’s 5 sisters and 4 brothers are so deeply committed to each other that it’s breathtaking to see them get together. I have only seen laughing, praying, crying together. NEVER, and I mean NEVER have I seen them fight or argue with each other.Then there is also my father’s side of 5 brothers and 1 sister where my sisters and I are the oldest cousins, and the level of respect accorded to us is truly humbling. My father is the head of the family, and his love and caring has made us care and love our cousins naturally.  I can say all my cousins make me feel truly loved, and when they do come over, it is NEVER a chore. I do admit that friends and work tend to suffer a bit since we all are so keen to be around for hours.

I assumed that was normal until I saw others who don’t speak to family members for months or years. I think the longest I have gone without speaking to my sisters has been a week. It just has never occurred to us to not resolve what’s wrong. We fight, we yell, we argue, we are mean to each other, but it has NEVER affected our relationship as brother and sister.  I see now that with time we have gotten even closer. I guess what I really mean to say is that I truly grateful for who I have in life, and I want others to have the same too.  That is my public service announcement for the day 🙂

Myself

Day of 1/1/11: I am number 1!

 

by Jemal Yarbrough

 

Too many unanswered texts, too few call backs, too much selfishness. I picked the picture to the right because it illustrates to me that there are many who will just continue with their lives not really concerned about friends or family.   I can’t but help be fascinated at the raw emotions I feel as those who I considered close to me once have left me to languish in the toughest battle of my life.  Others have surprised me at their tenderness and care and still other’s I cannot fathom their immaturity.  The reality is that friends come and go, family does the best it can, but only I can make the life I need to live.

So today, I celebrate letting go.  The 1’s being of particular important because at the end of the day I only have myself to rely on.  I no longer want to be dominated by disappointment, hurt or worse, Anger.  No longer will I give lip service to the ideal of being here NOW.  No longer will I dread cancer, chemotherapy, radiation or any of the myriads of  side effects we will face because the reality is we can either be overwhelmed by it or live day-to-day.

Moreover, I cannot expect people to be the way I want them to be.  They are going to be only true to their own nature and while some pay lip service to the ideals of great friendship or family, I just have to take it with a grain of salt.  I want today to be the only day I vent these sentiments because in the past 2 months alone, I know who my real friends and family are.  The rest just acquaintances who once provided fond memories and now just need to be relegated to old photo albums as reminders of a great past.  Some need to be removed completely, others left at a distance, and a few to be politely fake too because it matters to her so much.  So to some I say hello and to others Goodbye, it was nice while it lasted and thanks for the memories.

So 1/1/11 help me today to let go of the past, not worry about the future and just revel in the present.  That’s my gift to myself.