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
Power Tagging for Link Building February 14, 2011, 11:35 AM

With the news of the current healthexamination on Hospitals in Europe due out shortly it has to be a worrying time for the economy. Let’s hope we’re not headed for the next double dip again.

Tammy Rushdler February 14, 2011, 12:40 PM

excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You should continue your writing. I’m confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

OPCOM CAN OBD2 OPEL February 14, 2011, 1:40 PM

The conditions listed above are just a few of the many conditions that obese individuals are at an increased risk of developing. Other risks include liver disease, chronic venous insufficiency, gall bladder disease, breathing problems, arthritis, and many more.

P90x Workout Schedule February 14, 2011, 1:43 PM

Hi - very good web site you have established. I enjoyed reading this posting. I did want to issue a comment to tell you that the design of this site is very aesthetically pleasing. I used to be a graphic designer, now I am a copy editor in chief for a marketing firm. I have always enjoyed playing with information processing systems and am attempting to learn code in my spare time (which there is never enough of lol).

Joya Poke February 14, 2011, 2:19 PM

hi

delphine preuss February 14, 2011, 3:10 PM

:)

marine electronics February 14, 2011, 6:39 PM

Thanks again for posting this, great read.

chocolate covered coffee beans February 14, 2011, 11:46 PM

Jesus Christ there is lots of spammy feedback on this site. Have you actually thought about trying to remove them or putting in a plugin?

sbobet February 15, 2011, 10:14 AM

thanks !! very helpful post!

transport wrocław February 15, 2011, 1:06 PM

I just couldn’t depart your website prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often to check up on new post.

games February 15, 2011, 5:12 PM

My pal informed me about this specific website on bing. I enjoy all the data and I will certainly come back. Kudos

sussex seo consultants February 15, 2011, 5:39 PM

Loving the info on this website , you have done outstanding job on the articles .

satellitedirect February 15, 2011, 5:39 PM

I wish to express my passion for your kindness giving support to women who require guidance on this important concern. Your personal dedication to passing the solution all-around ended up being exceptionally good and has in every case enabled employees much like me to achieve their desired goals. Your new informative suggestions means a lot to me and especially to my mates. Regards; from all of us.

atlanta carpet cleaning February 15, 2011, 6:48 PM

Awesome, thats definitely what I was seeking for! You just spared me alot of looking around

Mervin Amoros February 15, 2011, 8:29 PM

There are several posts out there about this, I think taking there reference could have made this post or article really informative. I am not saying this information is not good. But I must say that the information provided here was unique, but to make it more near to complete, supporting with other previous information will have been really good. The points you have touched here are really important, so I will post some of the information here to make this really good for all the newbie’s here. Thanks for this information. Really helpful!

Rubi Forstner February 16, 2011, 2:24 AM

magnificent points altogether, you just gained a new reader. What would you suggest about your post that you made a few days ago? Any positive?

canadian mortgage trends 2008 February 16, 2011, 7:18 AM

I adore your weblog web site. Excellent colorations and also delightful motif. Did you build up this page your own self? Wonderful job!

buy littlebigplanet 2 February 16, 2011, 9:45 AM

Hi everyone, My spouse and i absolutely love your net site!! This is actually a magnificent posting. I really look forward to reading through far more fascinating articles in which you will be submitting within the forthcoming. I’ve truly found out a great deal from this. Thanks !.

Kvepalai moterims February 16, 2011, 12:50 PM

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

web hosting forum February 16, 2011, 1:50 PM

I’d have to check with you here. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!


Back to top >>
advertisement