I’ve been fortunate this year to reconnect with a lot of my family; my father’s side especially. Discovering that I had brothers and a sister were a shock but it has also been a pleasant transition. What’s really surprised me is that I’ve also been reconnecting with family members that I’ve known for a while but just never really hung around or spoke to for a plethora of reasons varying from distance, family drama and age.
My family isn’t perfect, I could use this space to explain all the reasons why but we are making strides. I feel like the younger generation has a chance to build and express emotion where our parents can not break out of their already learned behavior. I’m looking forward to our family gathering on Saturday. Usually I would be filled with apprehension as I’ve done nothing that my family expects of me. I don’t have a superhero cape and I’m not saving the world, for them anything less is a waste of time and I need to get with the program. I’m trying to understand it from their perspective though; Caribbean immigrants who left a relatively safe life to find more opportunity for their children in America, the land of dreamers. They wanted us to do all the things they could not at the time, living carefully under the watchful eyes of their own over protective parents but they don’t realize that they are doing much of the same, just in a different country.
My mother wants me to finish school and have a great job, not only because she wants what’s best for me but because she wants the feeling of relief to echo through her heart, she wants to feel like her sacrifice was justified, that she made the right choice in dragging me over here away from everything I knew and loved. She wants to believe that everything that she’s done has and could only contribute positively to my life but that’s not the case. Still, I want to be someone my mother can be proud of even though I don’t angle for that on a day to day basis. I’m quite content with being the black sheep of the younger generations because I moved out early, stopped going to church and lived with a boy before marriage. I’m okay with that stigma and with being the example because beyond their expectations I have to be there for my younger cousins to teach them that they do not have to conform if they don’t want to. Happiness is theirs to seek. It’s impossible for someone else to tell them how to be happy.
I look forward to being for them what my older cousins never were; supportive. I take my role as an older sister and an older cousin so seriously now because I feel like everyone needs an outlet that they trust.
I can’t wait to bond with my cousins on Saturday over some good soca music, great food and amazing conversation.