What We Call Home

What We Call Home

One holiday we should all celebrate

Joy Fan  CONTRIBUTOR

Photo: DreamsTime.

 

With Family Day just having passed recently, it’s nice to look back and see what family really means to us. This year has been the first year where I didn’t get to spend the holiday with my family. So, what does the holiday mean to me? It means you are given time to properly enjoy the company of your loved ones, no excuses. We get so caught up with our own busy lives, yet we make time for other things. We make time to watch another YouTube video, go out with friends, go to a party, see a movie. So why don’t we make time for family? 

Looking back, I realize that I didn’t utilize the time I got on Family Day properly, and now that I’m in a new city, it’s become clear as to just how much impact my family had on my life. Family is like a safety net that we take for granted. We just assume it’s there because it always has been, but what are we doing to maintain it? It took this Family Day for me to realize that I haven’t been calling my mom enough recently. She’s always there for me. When I call, she picks up. But in return, she’ll go days without a simple text from her daughter who is across the country (I’m from Vancouver), to let her know that she’s doing fine. She’ll have to ask and call multiple times before I answer my phone because I’m tired, or busy, or hungry. She’ll have to wait because I’m out with friends or because I’ve left my phone somewhere, trying not to have it near me while studying (yet I still respond nearly instantaneously to Facebook messages). Spending Family Day without the home-cooked meal I took for granted made me realize that I had taken family in general for granted. 

I am extremely close with my mom. She’s the one who influences my values and principles. She pushes me out of my comfort zone, and I went from being a painfully shy child to a rambunctious, outgoing chatterbox (who is maybe a little too extroverted now). She is the one who watched episodes of Berenstain Bears and whatever other shows I loved with me, and I grew to watching the evening news with her. She’s the person who made me fall in love with politics and current events. She’s the one who taught me to love my heritage and culture. She’s the reason I’m in Toronto (it’s a pretty funny story, but let’s save it for another time). She’s the person I’ve cried the most in front of, the person I’ve burdened the most with sorrow. And yet, she is still here for me, and always reminds me how much I am loved. It’s only when we take time to reflect on what the people around us have done for us, and what they mean to us, that we can truly appreciate just how much they’ve impacted our lives.

But apart from the people who raised us, it’s also about the people we meet along the way, those that make us, shape us, and help us grow from the foundations we’ve built. I was lucky enough to come into university knowing some people from high school already, but I was still worried about making new friends. People who I live with at Loretto, who I see at dinner, who ask me how I’ve been doing, friends who make me cry from laughter and make me laugh when I feel like crying. They say that blood is thicker than water, but the original quotation was actually, “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” It’s not just about the people we were born to, it’s about the people we were born to meet as well. My brother and I were very close when we were young, but with our huge age difference (he’s 10 years older than I), we grew apart with age. Only recently, when I was applying to university, did we start talking more and become close again. Now, we frequently share memes and dog videos with each other. My brother, now more than ever, feels like family.

Family doesn’t have to be limited to a single definition, nor can it be taken for granted. Family Day this year has passed but take some time out of your day to spend time with your family anyway. Just remember to mark your calendars for next year!

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