twitter facebook stumble upon rss

The Holiday Time Machine: Family

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This
Dr. Wendy Walsh: It will be dark and cold. There will be crowded airports, sweating throngs, pat-downs and whining toddlers. There will be bad airplane food and lack of sleep. But at the end of the journey, my kids and I will be met with pairs of eyes that squint in shared formation. People who carry our genes. Family.

Family dinner
Holidays bring a specific form of stress. Getting together with relatives is the closest thing we have to a time machine. At holiday tables, we are strapped in our seats by the centrifugal force of old family systems -- a world we'd ventured away from years ago, never thinking about a return ticket. Slammed back in time, the favored child still gets a wink from Mom, though his graying hair and paunch suggest a lost luster. The sister-to-sister sibling rivalry finds a modern battle as polite mothers now shoot competing stories of their children's accomplishments.

The clash of social class is epic. Decades of movement up or down networks of human ladders erupt over brands of mustard, types of lettuce or beverages. Dijon, arugula and Cabernet strike condescending blows at cousins who wash down iceberg and American yellow mustard with a frosty malt. The end of unemployment insurance seems a more patriotic conversation than environmental dangers, as one camp focuses on practicality and another on ideals, all designed to advertise social class. The family holiday rendezvous is a bid to flaunt the colors of our new world and a desperate attempt to avoid slipping into a familiar trance of the old planet. But it rarely works.

The powers of family psychological systems are like kryptonite, disabling our most sophisticated mental strategies. But we still go. We make the pilgrimage. At least, most of us do. Others avoid. The characters played by Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the film "Four Christmases" plan a yearly tropical vacation continents away from their families. Other folks drown in work. Still others dip in for a quick drink or meal and then jet off, unscathed by anything more than small talk.

Many who avoid family attempt to play catch-up years later at deathbeds and beside tombstones. But not us. We are the brave ones who climb into the time machine. And we do it for good reason. We do it because most of our families render us powerless to pretend, yet empower us with something else. The safety of a biological connection. We share genes, we share childhoods, we share pheromones, we share humor, we share love. This shared sense of belonging is the reason that we will bust our bank accounts to fly to the wedding of our crazy brother who is marrying a girl on a mountain in Mongolia. It's why we open our homes to cousins. It's why we spend hours cooking for people we haven't talked to face-to-face in a year. Because they are us.

When we are in their company, we are reminded of our familiar beginnings. There is some feeling of security in that. And if there were many old blows and injuries, we can also use this time to make right. To process more. Or simply to grieve the losses. Seeing a formerly abusive father, now old and weakened by alcohol, we can tend to the child in us whose childhood losses were so tragic. And we can look through the eyes of an adult at our tragic perpetrator and maybe even have compassion for his flaws.

We are all flawed people. And we live in an imperfect world. But in the presence of our family, we can have a feeling of belonging. Through the strengths of our family, we are reminded of the good in us. And through their flaws, we are given unique opportunities to mourn and forgive.


next: The Pill: Friend or Foe?
640 comments so far | Post a comment now
shower enclosures January 23, 2011, 9:47 PM

An interesting post right there mate ! Thank you for the post !

stone restoration January 25, 2011, 8:18 PM

Most of the time I don’t leave comments but I felt I needed to on this one. Thanks for the superb post.

Fragman izle January 29, 2011, 12:14 PM

Öyle Bir Geçer Zamanki 20. Bölüm. Son bölümde ali artık cemile tarafına kayıyor bunu anlamak mümkündü. Öyle bir geçer zamanki gerçekten her bölümü sinema havasında geçiyor. Öyle bir geçer zamanki dizisinde 20. bölüm oldukça heycanlı geçeceğe benziyor. Lütfen 20. bölümde olabilecekler hakkında yorumlarınızı konu altından belirtiniz.

settlement loan February 1, 2011, 2:45 AM

Just to let you know your web page looks a little bit different on Safari on my notebook using Linux .

mesothelioma san diego February 1, 2011, 5:22 PM

It is in reality a nice and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

program telewizyjny February 2, 2011, 1:44 AM

I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently. I am quite certain I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

pet supplies February 2, 2011, 3:59 AM

This is often a fantastic web site, could you be interested in making time for an interview concerning just how you designed it? If so e-mail me!

hostessy February 2, 2011, 9:16 AM

My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

program tv February 2, 2011, 10:43 AM

Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

escort bayanlar February 2, 2011, 5:31 PM

Size çok özel dakikalar yaşatacak olan escort bayanlarımıza sadece bir tık uzaktasınız.

pet meds February 4, 2011, 6:19 AM

I appreciate your wp web template, where did you get a hold of it?

Travel Offers February 6, 2011, 4:01 PM

Man I like this comment and it is so informational and I am definetly going to bookmark it. One thing to say the Indepth analysis you have done is trully remarkable.Who goes that extra mile these days? Well Done! Just another suggestion you shouldget a Translator for your Global Readers ..

affiliate link cloak February 6, 2011, 8:37 PM

What i find difficult is to discover a weblog that can seize me for a minute however your weblog is different. Bravo.

Nox Edge February 7, 2011, 2:30 AM

As a Newbie, I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

english pound to euro converter February 7, 2011, 2:33 AM

I actually wanted to compose a small comment in order to say thanks to you for all the pleasant items you are giving at this site. My considerable internet lookup has now been honored with extremely good details to go over with my partners. I ‘d assert that we website visitors are undeniably blessed to exist in a useful community with so many marvellous professionals with insightful ideas. I feel somewhat blessed to have discovered your entire weblog and look forward to so many more fabulous minutes reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

lavoro da casa February 7, 2011, 3:43 AM

Uhm… I don’t really know what to think… but I have a question I’d like to ask you in private, ideally by email. How can I reach you?

Arlie Desisles February 7, 2011, 5:50 AM

whatever you say man, im totally agree with you.

Nike Mercurial 2011 February 7, 2011, 9:45 AM

Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I want to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make a very good article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get one thing done.

mesothelioma prognosis February 7, 2011, 10:51 AM

it is a great web page. I have never been through the mentioned high quality content. My business is really convinced. I shall consider your website regurly and hope you modernize extra. I am to endorse individual pals for this place. The details will be helpful for different longevity. I highly recommend this kind of place to everybody. I enjoy studying keep in mind this plenty. Thank you very much during such high quality content.

ab workouts men February 7, 2011, 12:40 PM

suggestions


Leave a reply:



(not displayed)

     




Avoid clicking "Post" more than once
Back to top >>
advertisement