I'm having issues with some family back in Chicago since there is a disagreement on how best to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday in a few weeks. The question in the back of my mind is just how important are the people that I call family. We may see each other once a year. My sister and I are somewhat black sheep to begin with since we both left the Chicago area. Of the other 8 cousins, 6 are still in the Chicago area. That's mental anguish point #1 for me. Is it somehow abandoning my mom by being 1000+ miles away? I know children must leave the nest (unless you're a fanboi and you can't leave the comfort of the basement), but when a parent gets to the point that they can't take care of themselves, what do you do? There's no worry about my mom right now, but what about a few years from now? I suppose I could look for a job in the Chicago area, but there just not a lot of government agencies that deal with water in that area. There is also the idea that you can't go home again. The neighborhood that I grew up in has changed almost 100%. The Polish, Italian, and Czech residents have all been replaced by Mexicans. The local groceries are now supermercados. Instead of walking Anubis on the open mesa I would have to settle for forest preserves full of crackheads and perverts.
My anthropologist friend told me that a typical pattern is for there to be a generation of pioneers followed by a generation of homesteaders. That certainly is true with my mom's side of the family. My grandmother made the trip from Poland. My mother has lived in the house she now lives and the one next door for her entire life. My sister and I have picked up and moved across the country. I know there are some families that have lived in the same area for their entire lives. I frequently poke fun at some of the Hispanics here in New Mexico because they are proud to be living on the land their ancestors claimed 300 years ago. The only problem is that they have been living in poverty for all of those 300 years.
In the furry fandom we throw out the phrase "furry family" a lot. We can be as loving as any family and we can be as dysfunctional as well. The thing is that I probably know more about a lot of you than I do my own family. It's partly my own fault for not maintaining those close ties, but then again it is a 2-way street. I have not received any correspondence from any of my family either. I just don't know how important it is to maintain those ties. You're my aunt/uncle/cousin. So what? The days of all of us playing in the backyard are over. The only time we'll probably get together is for a reunion or a death. I would say wedding, but I think we are all past the age when that would be a big deal. We had an opportunity to make my mom's birthday a sort of reunion, but after the drama my sister and I have endured over the past few days, we're both to the point of saying, "fuck it!" We'll see what happens. There are still 2 weeks to go. Perhaps a truce can be reached.