The Happy Holidays and the Happy Family…..

It’s the holidays for sure because I’ve gained 4 pounds since December 13th!

It ain’t even Christmas yet!

But along with the holiday cookies, dinner parties and graduations(yes, December graduations are becoming quite popular), there’s also family…..

Where shall I begin?

This morning I woke up to one of my sisters, *Rose, arguing with my mom telling her that she isn’t fair for dictating whether my youngest, 15 year old sister, *Heather, should get a dreaded hairstyle called sister locks. My sister had already started dreading about 15 percent of her hair.

“Ma, why are you trying to control her. You’re wrong. That’s not fair. It’s her hair. She should be able to make the choice.”

My mom ignored her. She had already explained that she thought Heather was too young to make that choice because the hairstyle was too permanent. We tried to assure our mom that if she doesn’t like it, she could let it grow out. We tried to explain that sister locks are very versatile because they are so small that people can put braids and weaves and wigs on them. My mother wasn’t buying it. She had already didn’t like that Heather dyed her hair. In fact, my mom grounded her. But I  do find it odd that when Heather wanted to get a relaxer, my mother didn’t have a problem with that.

I was perplexed because I dyed my hair when I was her age and my mom didn’t say a word. Why is she treating the youngest so different? And why does hair matter? I asked my mother last night.

“It’s not your hair.”

“But I’m her mother.” Okay…..

Anyways,  there was tension in the air.

Next thing I know, I hear my brother, *Ethan, talking to mom in a firm voice saying “Mom, give me back my phone charger. I do not want to be coerced to stop using my phone.”

She replied. “*Ethan, I don’t like it when I ask you to do something that you complain or ignore me. Also you’re addicted to your phone. You’re on it from the time I leave from work to the time you go to bed. Practice self-control.”

“I do practice self-control. I had a hard semester. If I want to be on my phone all day for the whole vacation, that is my prerogative. That’s my right.”

“Mom, please give me back my charger.”

So for the next 20 minutes while I’m in my bed, I hear my brother repeat that in a firm slightly annoyed but trying to be calm way while my sister, Rose, is asking mom if she’s mad at her.

Yes. My morning.

I’m a type of person who tries my best to see all sides of the situation.

I get my sisters. I do believe that Heather should have a choice with what to do with her hair, especially, while she is young. My mother thinks it’s best for her to experiment with her hair after 18. At 15, my sister doesn’t have to worry about whether someone would hire her or not based on her hairstyle. She can literally dye her hair pink at this time of her life. This is the perfect time to experiment. Also, I think this is a great time to help her realize that her body is hers and she has the right to do what she wants with it. She is in control of her body and I think that is a powerful thing. She has a choice.

I also understand my mother. As a parent, she has the right to set rules for her children. I’ve had friends whose parents wouldn’t let them get a tattoo until they were 18 or get a car until they were a certain age. If you think about it, Heather can deal with rules for three more years and then after that she’ll have the rest of her life to do whatever.  However, I think my mother needs to work on better explaining her reasoning for things and also try to understand the other person’s side. She didn’t stop to listen to Heather  to see if she’s mature enough for something so permanent. My mother just assumed she wasn’t and that’s quite belittling even for a teenager.

In terms of Ethan’s situation, I totally feel him. He shouldn’t be forced not to use his cell phone. Like he said it is his choice and if he is convicted one day that he’s on his cell phone too much then he’ll make changes. I hate the feeling of being controlled to do something because other people think it’s best for you.

However, I do see my mom’s point. Though, I think she could’ve handled it a different way. My mom was basically indirectly saying that she wants attention from him and wants to spend time with him but he spends time on his phone.  I understand. I even requested that I just wanted interrupted quality time with him for Christmas. Yesterday, I didn’t have one conversation with him because he was literally on it from morning to night and when I did try to talk to him, he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at his phone.

I asked him if he was listening and he said, “Yes, just give me 5 minutes. I’m texting my friend.

“Is it an important text?” I asked

“No.”

What does that mean to me? Texting and technology is more important than flesh and blood right next to you. I think my mom was feeling that way especially, when she asks him to throw out the trash while he’s on his phone and he says that he’s “doing something” and then basically ignores her.

Earlier this year, he was having eye problems due to his sickle cell anemia that could have potentially lead to blindness. We warned him to spend less time on his phone because it strains the eye and can make the eye muscles weaker but he ignored us.

Eventually, my mom gave him his phone charger and then told him that he was addicted even if he didn’t think so. She also basically, gave a warning that she’d take it again if he changes.

“Don’t make your phone your life.”

Unfortunately, my mom needs to learn that she can’t tell people what to do, especially an adult man. But my brother better be careful because she pays his phone bill. So technically…… she could cut it off.

The point of all this is that the holidays come with joy and family arguments. It can be annoying but it can also be a learning experience and quite entertaining!

These two situations show that giving people choice is important. Whether someone is doing the right thing or not, that person deserves the right to choose. So in the end, I hope my mother will learn to let go and let people choose.

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