Wednesday, May 21, 2008

i feel gypped

it seriously sucks to be a mongrel sometimes. i mean without a culture. like a REAL culture.

maeven and i have been reading the "all-of-a-kind-family" series. (just finished the second book today.) which is about a large jewish family in the early 1900s. and we watched "fiddler on the roof" this weekend. and so i have been doing a lot of thinking about how i feel gypped out of a culture.

there are so many traditions and celebrations and just really neat family stuff that jewish families have that i don't have. and not just jewish people...i know that all sorts of cultures have neat traditions and celebrations: mexican, hmong, armenian, japanese, chinese, etc etc etc...seems like every culture out there has neat traditions but the boring generic caucasian mongrel that i am.

well that's not entirely true because i did grow up in a very lively, very family oriented family. but i seem to have lost that. we never had our own culture, but we got to experience other cultures living there...i remember many italian festivals and celebrations when we lived in sicily...and i remember participating in all sorts of japanese cultural events, dancing, food, etc when we lived in okinawa. our lives were always full of that sort of stuff growing up.

and my family was all about love and traditions and music and singing. we didn't have lots of family around us so we adopted people into our family. here we have family and we are pretty close to them but the celebrations and traditions just don't feel the same. not sure how to put it into words. i SO long for cultural events like may day parties and christmas parties and regular family weddings (so far ours is the only one in our family and the way things look now we may have the only wedding ever...i dunno but just doesn't seem weddings will be in the future for anyone else...hope not, but seems that way.) and pig pickings (that was a tradition we participated in in north carolina) and o-bon (not sure how to spell it...but it was the day of the dead festival in okinawa where we danced the night away in a big community circle dance, as i recall)...and square dancing nights and music music music and dancing and SINGING!

when i was growing up there was SO MUCH SINGING!! we don't have that in our little family so much...i try to get it going and the kids are not starving for songs...we play music a lot and i try to sing with them a lot but its not the same as what i grew up with with my dad leading the singing at church (he was a pastor) and leading singing at all sorts of gatherings and we often passed the time in the car for long rides with lots of family singing (rounds and singing parts and just oh so fun! we didn't usually have a car stereo and we took lots of trips.)...adam doesn't sing. i can't change that about him but i am sad about it. its just not who he is and its all about who my dad is so there's one thing that is different about him than my dad and it makes me sad. :( my dad has a great booming voice and my childhood is full of memories of singing happily along with him. and i don't think he sings with my kids though...i need to try to change that...encourage him to sing with them. he's got to share that with them. he's such an awesome singer!

i find myself so often yearning for what i'm missing from my childhood...wanting recreate so much...wanting to create gatherings for local families to create that community that i miss having. i was always a part of a community growing up...a church community. its very sad now that i don't feel comfortable with religion anymore that i'm missing that community. but i know i can get that community without the religion so i am trying to figure out how.

anyway i feel sad for what my kids are missing. i had such a joyful and enriching childhood. there's so much i experienced that i really appreciate now. so much culture and community, so much tradition, so much music and laughter and love. i know we have lots of laughter and love but we need the community and the culture.

i often wish i was of a different culture. not a caucasian mongrel. it seems easier to get what i am missing if you are of a culture that that is just a part of. oh to be an italian in the middle of a loud, loving, boisterous italian family! or a jewish family! how cool would that be? but i cannot create culture where there isn't. i'm not italian. i'm not jewish. i didn't marry into a culture. so i have to figure it out some other way.

maybe someday we'll move to a little town with lots of community. someplace that will have lots of music and singing and gatherings with food and fun and friends and laughter and love and none of the dysfunction that seems so prevalent everywhere these days. *sigh* if only there were a utopian society somewhere that i could just move our family to and live happily ever after. i know i'll never have all that i want. and i need to be happy where i'm at. its just so hard when you read these wonderful books about all these wonderfully beautiful family and culture traditions and know we have none of that and how my kids are really deprived of so many things that i really want for them. :(

but i never give up trying to create things for them. i'm still trying! i'm never going to give up!!!

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