Because You're Family
Today my 11-year-old sister and I had a short chat as we sat on a bench eating pretzels. I remember flying to Guam and helping to care for her when she was 6 weeks old, then again for 2 week vacations when she was 2 and 4 years old. (She does not remember this.) I took her to the beach for the first time when she was 2 and tried to befriend her again when she was 4. Our next meeting was when she was 7. My sisters and I decided to have a family reunion of sorts and we all spent two weeks playing tourist.
Fast forward to this week, she is now 11. It has been 4 years since we have seen each other but I feel I know her well. I send her gifts for her birthday and while I was living in Italy, she wrote letters and sent me postcards. My dad knew he was going to have a busy summer and told Tia that it would be best if she went off-island for the two months that school would be out. Like a dutiful Chinese daughter, she agreed to fly from Guam to Seattle alone to stay with a sister she has not seen in years. When I asked her why she agreed to do this, she said, "Even though I don't know you well, I agreed to it because you are family."
Since her visit, my dad has been calling every other day to see what she is up to. Having her here has reconnected me with my dad and reminded me of how Chinese our family is. We do things for one another out of love but also out of a deep sense of obligation. This obligation defines us and shapes our relationship with all those around us.
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