Until recently, I hadn’t seen some of my extended family for almost a decade. We’d been busy ‘growing up’, leading our separate lives, and overcoming some of the conflicts that had happened between our families. But in the last few months, I’ve been able to reconnect with some of my cousins, second cousins, as well as my Aunty and Uncle. Not only have these new experiences been beneficial for me, but they’ve been beneficial for my husband and three children.
“Who am I?”
From the time children are first born, they’re trying to make sense of how they fit in the world. As they develop emotionally and physically, they begin to discover what they like, what they don’t, what they enjoy doing, who is important to them.
From the time my three kids were born, my husband and I have always made it our goal to raise them in a loving environment. So, our emphasis, first and foremost, has been to make them feel most loved within the walls of our home.
However, as we’ve learned to make better sense of our role as parents, we’ve realised the importance of our children being surrounded with as much love as possible – to have strong relationships with their extended family and other people we might also consider family.
Memories of my own childhood
When I was growing up, I remember being cooked a delicious home-cooked meal by my grandmother and having a good chat as we ate.
I remember spending Christmas with both sides of the family – the sound of laughter, the tearing of all the presents, the busyness of it all.
I remember feeling that I wasn’t just a part of one family – but of many.
This feeling of connectedness gave me a sense of belonging, made me feel loved, valued and important.
How reconnecting with my cousins is helping to develop my children’s identity
Since we’ve started spending more time with my cousins and their children, my own family have learnt more about me and where I come from.
My husband, whose extended family all live in Hong Kong, has felt a greater sense of belonging.
Our children have been able to play with more children their own age – children who are a part of the same family .
Our children are understanding better what it means to be part of a wider community. What it means to be there for each other.
I absolutely love the fact that I’ve reconnected with my cousins again.
And I also love the fact that I’m teaching my kids that no matter how much time you spend time apart from someone, you can still find your way back to each other.
That family really is for life.
This article was written by Thuy Yau, who is a freelance writer. She is passionate about making the world a better place to live in. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter, and check out her personal development blog at Inside a Mother’s Mind.