Families are an ever evolving, often complex set of relationships, aren’t they? I look at my parents and my kids, particularly my dad who my brother and I had an uneasy relationship with growing up at times, and see how easy it is between him and the girls. It’s not something that you could ever know until it happens, much like how you don’t really know what kind of parent you will be until you become one. But this…seems so natural (uncooperative family photo poses and all).
And then there is this:
I can tell you that it took my dad a while to accept the fact that my brother was having a baby 2 years ago, mostly because it was a surprise to all of us. It didn’t happen the way that maybe he envisioned it might happen. There was a time when my dad and my brother did not speak for a few months. At one point my brother resigned to the possibility that his kids might not have the same kind of relationship that my kids have with their grandfather. I think as first generation Asian Americans and kids who grow up identifying mostly with American culture, we expect our immigrant parents to accept our decisions no questions asked. I just told my brother to give him some time.
He is right in one sense. My dad doesn’t have quite the same relationship with my brother’s kids as he does with mine, but this is because of distance and nothing more. My brother and his family live in California and we only see them once or twice a year. They were in town to celebrate my nephew’s 2nd birthday and his new daughter’s traditional 100 day celebration.
So it would come as a bit of a surprise to hear my dad make a speech during the party with our whole extended family. That he would be the one to say that despite the fact that maybe the additions to his family might not have been what he envisioned when he thought about it abstractly years ago before any of this ever happened, when he looks at his children’s spouses and his 4 grandchildren, what he sees is family.