There is something humbling about the quiet camaraderie of vehicles cruising home at 4 pm in the afternoon the eve of the new year. Everyone is content; no one is mad or frustrated in traffic but everyone feels the pull of home. I feel the weight of everyone’s return, light and comforting. Chinese New Year might seem to descend into a weekend of selfies and outfits of the day shots and general spiral of vanity on social media, but most people remember the heart of it, and it’s great.
My family is a small one; my extended family doesn’t extend very far. But in recent years, we’ve had the privilege of getting to know one another better despite our differences and years of distance. Family is an awesome unit. I’ve always believed the notion of family to be a fluid one; we make our own family, and we make the effort to become family. There’s nothing quite as gorgeous as found family bound not by blood ties but by choice. But at the same time, blood relations are blood relations after all. (Notwithstanding those relations you need to cut out of your life for self-preservation purposes,) I believe the slightest of blood relations should be treasured, even if age, class, interests divide you.
It seems oddly appropriate that my family and I caught August: Osage County over the weekend. I’ve heard a reviewer comment that watching the movie will comfort you because either your family is not as screwed up as theirs or you realise there’re other families out there as terrible as yours. Every family has its special brand of weirdness. Some families will have customs that baffle others, even if those within take them as a given. Different families have different love languages, but all we need to know sometimes is that love is there, and family is a place where it is nurtured. Ultimately, each family is also the same.
My family is not the same family as it was two years ago; some members have come and gone, and it has extended to include different people. But I guess that’s the point – that family is never static and never isolated. Life changes and you have to let go of some people, and invite some people in.
Family is always found family after all, always renewing and always changing.