|Pages of tiny writing!|
See, apparently my dad was not close to his mother at all (maybe his father, too, I don't know - his father died before my parents married and I've never heard a word spoken about the man). We visited my dad's family only a handful of times ever growing up - perhaps three or four times. I only remember three visits, but there may have been others before I was born or when I was an infant. This lack of contact was the norm in our house - we didn't exactly see my mom's family much either, and she was really terrible about staying in touch (once my grandparents found out my mom was pregnant after the baby was born!).
My parents are just really bad about communicating with family. And that taught their kids, by example, to think family was unimportant. We never sacrificed to help a family member. We never let a family member offer help, or bear our burdens, or do us a favor. We never put family first. It never happened then, so it really doesn't happen much now. It's sad that none of my grandparents have ever met their youngest grandchild, and it's sad that my parents never call their children (or their parents!) on Christmas.
So I'm trying to coax the family out of that mold. I go out of my way to be the sibling who calls everyone else, who sends Christmas cards, who visits. I ask the other kids, "Have you heard from so-and-so?" to remind them to call their brothers. I gave up on trying to involve my parents, who are quite crazy and a lost cause, but I don't want all of their kids to continue the pattern. My childhood was bizarre in a lot of ways, so I always told myself growing up, "You can't change how you were raised, but you can change how you let it shape you." I don't let the unusual family communications affect me, and I'm happy my grandmother and I have been able to establish a relationship, even though it really began when she was in her 80's and I sent her a wedding invitation!
How about you? Is your family close? Who are you seeing or calling for Thanksgiving?