Dad vs. Twin

Since my twin sister moved to California a little over two years ago, her relationship with my dad slowly but surely deteriorated. She’s chasing after her dream, but while she’s doing it, she’s leaving my dad with broken promises and forgotten duties. I don’t want to get into the specifics of their falling out because it really is just one whole complicated web of unspoken feelings and pent up frustrations.

But throughout these two years, I watched how my dad gradually stopped talking to her and how my sister subsequently stopped trying to talk to him, all the while feeling this weight on my shoulder getting heavier and heavier.

Before I visited my sister this past summer, my mom told me to talk to her and convince her to see things from my dad’s perspective. And I did that. I talked to her. But after that, she asked me if I could talk to my dad after I got home and help him see things from her perspective. My mom asked me to do the same thing also. And I did that too.

Last week, I was finally able to talk to him. This is exactly how it started.

Me: Dad, I want to talk to you about something.
Dad: What is it, sweetheart?
Me: You have to promise me that you won’t get mad.
Dad: I won’t get mad.
Me: Do you promise?
Dad: I promise.
Me: It’s about Ach.
Dad *rolls eyes and exhales loudly*
Me: You promised you won’t get mad.
Dad: I’m not mad. What about her?

He kept his promise. He didn’t get mad. But he broke my heart a bit when he kept on saying he didn’t care about what my sister did/is doing/will do with her life.

At the same time though, I understand where he’s coming from. He wants what’s best for his daughter, and I get that it’s frustrating that his daughter refuses his ideas and opinions. I know he doesn’t mean what he said and that his words came from a place of hurt.

And my sister, she’s had moments here and there that infuriated me, that made me think that maybe she’s completely forgotten that she’s still my parents’ daughter and our sister.

But I can’t hide the fact that she’s been doing amazingly well with planning and thinking ahead when it comes to her future. I’ve never seen her more responsible, independent and confident than the two months I spent with her a couple of months ago.

So what do I have? A father who is angry because he’s hurting, and a sister who’s slowly turning into a stranger because she’s making her dreams come true.

I just… I’m not asking for advice or tips or whatever. I know it’s not my place, nor is it my responsibility, to try and fix their relationship.

It’s just that my sister’s coming home in less than 24 hours, and I don’t want her and my dad spending the Christmas season avoiding, ignoring or fighting each other.

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The 7 non-Christmas things I did/do on Christmas

Growing up, I never really did celebrate Christmas the way everyone else did. My grandparents didn’t want us to value Christmas because of the tree, Santa Claus, or the gifts. I remember, instead of giving my siblings and I presents, they would call us to their room and tell us the story of the birth of Jesus Christ and why we don’t celebrate Christmas the usual and, honestly, the more enjoyable way. We’d play Christmas songs but that’s about it. No Christmas decorations, tree or presents.

I used to feel bad about it when I was still a kid. Now, though, it doesn’t bother me anymore. I actually like it this way. I do give Christmas presents to my friends and to my siblings and I do greet the people who greet me, but my kind of Christmas stops there. How I enjoy my December 25th isn’t based on the number of gifts I receive because I don’t expect to actually get any. It isn’t based on whether or not my friends or anyone else greet me because I don’t expect that either.

I do, however, use my December 25th to do other things that may or may not be considered Christmas material. Some are tradition, some clearly aren’t. Here they are:

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1. Visit the cemetery.

I know, I know. This is a November 1 kind of thing but visiting the cemetery on Christmas day is actually pretty fun. Also, I’d like to mention that the cemetery I go to doesn’t look as depressing as the one in the photo.

This became an annual tradition since my grandmother from my mom’s side passed away a couple of years ago. My grandfather, whose birthday’s on the 25th, had already passed years before that so we decided to spend Christmas day with the both of them. We’d even gather around their resting place and sing happy birthday. REALLY, it’s fun.

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2. Clean my room.

Yes, while everyone else was busy opening presents and, in the process, making a mess in their room, I was cleaning mine up. And I’m so glad I did. I now have a tidy bedside table, a bed without anything but a pillow and blanket on it and, finally, a desk with enough space for me to write on.

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3. Read a really sad book.

Well, okay, it’s not like I made the decision to read a sad book during the Christmas season. It’s just that all my favorite books are sad ones and that I make it a point to read at least one of my favorite books each year. And since I’m busy reading new ones throughout the year, I only remember my annual tradition when the year’s about to end which happens to be December.

For this year, I’m reading John Green’s Looking for Alaska. Yes, I don’t really know why I do this to myself.

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4. Do school work.

This is one thing I would’ve been glad not to do, but an eager-to-graduate senior’s got to do what an eager-to-graduate senior’s got to do.

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5. Break my earphones.

I broke my earphones. WHY.

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6. Scoop my dog’s poop.

I know this sounds like something that happens every day but it’s not. My dog, Sumo, never does his business in my room. He’s been potty-trained for quite some time now so imagine my surprise when I found dog poop in my room, and quite a lot of it actually since he had a heavy meal. And I know it’s his since the other two weren’t in the room the time. I guess it’s his way of making my Christmas day extra special and extra extra smelly.

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7. NOT eat Christmas fruitcake, or Christmas ham, or Christmas cookies.

I know it might sound crazy but I don’t eat fruitcake. I like fruits. I like cakes. But I don’t like putting the two together. I like ham and cookies but there weren’t any so none of that for me too.

I ate spam, though, which rhymes with ham so I guess that’s pretty close.

Happy holidays, everyone! 

The problem with 12/12/12, 12/25/12 and etc.

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Up until a few minutes ago, I was one of those people who had to have a very special 12/12/12. It’s going to be the last day where the month, date and the last two digits of the year will be identical; obviously, it won’t ever happen again. So initially, I wanted that day to be extra special. I was just telling my friends the other day that we had to do something to “celebrate.”

Then earlier, I suddenly realized something. December 12, 2012 is just like any other day. They all won’t ever happen again. 

I think a lot of us get too caught up in petty little things like this. We use “special” things with “special” appearances as an excuse to treat everything else, well, un-specially. Why is it that on Valentine’s Day people show more affection toward one another than on any other days? Why is it that people are more grateful on Thanksgiving? Why are they kinder and more loving during the Christmas season?

The only leverage those days have over all the other days in the year is that they have a name, a title. Besides that, they’re all the same. Why can’t we just be kinder and more loving period? Why can’t we be as grateful as we are on Thanksgiving all throughout the year? Why can’t we simply show the same Valentine’s Day affection every day?

I know it doesn’t seem all that significant. But if you will look at a calendar, how many special days are there compared to all the non-special ones? That is literally hundreds of days when people might feel that being a kind person isn’t really someone they need to be [yet], that taking your husband or your wife for granted may not be okay but is still socially understandable, that taking a moment to appreciate everything you have will just distract you from school or work or Facebook.

That’s hundreds of days when we can be our best selves, when we can be a blessing to others, when we can do good… yet we choose not to because December 26 is not December 25. 

A few days ago, I saw a homeless man when I walked out of a restaurant and gave him a few bucks. My friend looked at me questioningly so I told her, “It’s Christmas season.” Do you see? At the time, I was sure I was doing something nice. Now, I’m not so sure anymore. Now, I feel like I did that not out of the kindness of my heart, but out of this need I have to act on my idea of what the Christmas season should be like.

Look at it from the man’s point of view. Does he really have to endure the whole year and wait until Christmas for someone to actually help him? The same question goes for anyone else who isn’t in a good place in life. Because I think a lot of people, I have to say, myself included, would wait until Christmas to feel the need to help others.

Now is usually the time when someone will say things like, ‘Live every day like it’s your last’ or ‘Every day should be like Valentine’s Day’ or ‘Carpe diem.’ But I won’t because one, it’s cliche and, therefore, has probably lost its desired effect on people, and; two, technically, I kind of already did when I mentioned them.

I will just say this instead: Always be nice. 🙂