One For The Family

Written by Yemisi Sawyerr
There’s something about holidays that focus on “Family,” that should remind us to be thankful. No matter how dysfunctional or crazy we think our families are; never mind if the two brothers haven’t spoken properly in years because of some long forgotten beef that pride will not let either of them be the first to let go of. Never mind that mother and daughter-in-law maintain frosty silences while wrapping presents, seasoning the chicken and yelling at the household staff...
Never mind the simmering undercurrents of resentment and anger crisscrossing the room like fiber optic telecoms cables when the family gathers. The gossip, the askance glances, the “Can you imagine what he/she/they said/did? Who does he/she/they think he/she/they is/are???” Never mind the slights, real or imagined. Or the crimes against property, feelings or personal space. The jealousy, the one-upmanship, the insecurity, the pretense.
That’s what makes us family. The complex range of emotions we feel when we are around these people with whom we share blood or marriage ties; the assorted personalities and complexes borne of positive and negative interactions and experiences. The fierce love, the intense animosity. The drama. The "Home video" and “GRAB YOUR COPY NOW” ness of it all…

Family is: you and I don’t speak because of some disagreement of bygone years, but I rise up to defend you like a gladiator if an outsider dares to cut their mouth in your direction and say something negative about you…
Family is the closing of ranks to protect our wounded, or to honor our fallen. It is having people fly from all over the world to hold your hand in a crisis even when it isn’t convenient… To stay up talking till 5am trying to resolve a problem even though you’re both tired and falling asleep in mid sentence every few minutes… It is bearing loss together, fighting fiercely and making up. Celebrating good times; putting your money where your mouth is; giving a helping hand and being a blessing…
It is making peace with wrongs done to you. And seeking forgiveness for wrongs done by you to others...
Family is being able to say I miss you, I love you, I hate you, You hurt me; I forgive you; I will never speak to you again; I’m sorry; all at once and mean every word...
Our families are made up of people we can love deeply one minute and harbor murderous thoughts about the next. But the underlying and overwhelming feeling should be love.
God gave us these people for a reason.
So every Christmas, every Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Yam Festival and everyday….
Thank God for yours
I just did.


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