Family is better than turkey

Family is a wonderful aspect of humanity. The very idea that there will always be someone there for you is a reassuring fact of life. No matter how bad we screw up, the first people to pick up the pieces are family.

My parents taught me family must always be the highest priority. No other relationship, except marriage, can come close to the unique bond one can have with a family they love.

Now, even though my parents "guilt trip" me if I do not call or visit frequently, they moved far away from their family when I was born. Both of my parents are very independent of their parents. They moved an entire state away from the comfort and support of my grandparents on a whim.

My father did not have the offer of a better job in Oregon, nor did my mother. Oregon was a land idealized because they had spent their honeymoon camping through Oregon. This state felt like a place they could move to and become independent. Oregon represented the hopes and dreams of a patriarch wanting to begin a new era of excellence in the family name.

My parents did not get rich in Oregon. They did not have it easier in Oregon. Instead, they raised four children in an environment they controlled. I grew up without knowing my cousins, aunts, uncles or relatives because my family was so far away from the core of this family, my grandparents. Yet, my parents raised us independently. They home-schooled their children when it was very unpopular to do so. My parents challenged almost every system of convenience in order to maintain control of how their family would be shaped. They knew a good family needed space, constant care, and time. California did not offer these to my parents.

I realize that having direct control over your family is very difficult. Creating family dynamics is like making water sculptures, unless you have a mold you force someone into, you are helpless to the development of the individual. I believe the full development of the individual comes with the creation of a new family.

Essentially, family is the creation of two people who are equals of each other on an individual basis. This union signifies the complete divorce of the child from the parents. As the saying goes, "you lose a daughter or son."

While the parents do gain a daughter or son, this relationship is not nearly as close as the biological or emotional relationship that was the parent/child relationship. Letting go of the child is the hardest thing to do because the parents know that they will see less of their child.

Independence is what makes us adults but is also what tears us away from our parents. This last Thanksgiving, I spent time with my parents. Something felt different. I was no longer my parent's kid. Instead, I was an equal of my parents.

We talked the way I remembered my uncles and aunts talking with my parents. This equality is an entirely new feeling for me, and it gave me goosebumps. While my parents may think I do not care about them as much because I do not spend as much time with them, I realize I care about them more deeply than before. As I become more independent, I recognize the frail mortality of my parents more. I realize how delicate human relationships are and how precious family can be.

is a graduate of Southern Oregon University with a degree in English. He lives in Ashland with his fianc&


Share This Story