As a child I never played board games. Not because I didn’t want to but I don’t remember there being any board games in my house. I think there were cards and dominoes but its no fun to play those games by yourself. Plus I always had some extracurricular activity; swimming, piano lessons, choir and extra class courses. I feel like everyone in my house was in constant work mode. I cannot recall doing anything with my entire family for fun.
So yesterday I was invited to have dinner at a friend’s house. The dinner was delicious; curried fish, roti and greens. Fun Fact, I love anything curry! especially Jamaican styled curry! My friend and her husband are some of the coolest people I am blessed to have in my life. They have two smart and beautiful six year old twin girls that I absolutely adore. And I had a blast hanging out with them at their house.
After dinner, my friend decided to play charades (the kid friendly edition). It was fun playing the game; to see everyone smiling and laughing made me happy to be there. And then it hits me! In the midst of all this fun, I realized I never did anything remotely like this with my family. We never eat dinner together. I think the dining table is in the house for decorative purposes. We never watch TV together, well occasionally the news and we probably spend 10mins max in the same room together. Definitely never played board games. We rarely talk to each other on the phone. There is nothing I can think of that we did together as a family. Thanksgiving would cover the yearly occurrence of all us being together. But so many friends and family come together at Thanksgiving that its centered around small chit-chats and filling our guts with turkey.
I know you are probably thinking this is really trivial. Many kids grow up orphans and some never receive half the opportunities I am granted with. And in no way am I ungrateful for the things my parents did for me. But we are an emotionless family. We all love each other but refuse to show it. I remember I asked my dad to say I love you, and his reaction made me feel like I had placed a gun to his head and told him to empty his bank account. Communication is a huge struggle. We all grew up emotionally detached so my sibling and I tend to bottle our emotions. And now that we are much older, we live countries and states away from each other. My brother and sister haven’t seen each other in over 5 years. I haven’t seen my brother in 3 years. But weirdly enough, we are all extremely close to each other. We all grew up with busy schedules so our dysfunctional family dynamic forced us to be close siblings over time.
I love my family and I think I came out pretty decent. I’ve surrounded myself with positive friends and positive people. But when I am given the chance to start my own family, I am making space for family time. I don’t want my child’s happy memories to involve only the nanny. I want the entire family to be involved together because even if the adventures together are a complete shitfest, the memories will be of the family together.