Closing The Year With Friends Who Are Like Family

It’s been a long time since my last post so before beginning to write for the year 2014, I wanted to do a recap of the most important things that happened as we closed the year 2013.

Earlier in Fall, I wrote a post about how hard it is for children to spend some fabulous time with friends of the family who don’t live close by, and then have to say good-bye. However, I wanted to talk about how wonderful it is for them to finally meet in person some of the people who are constantly checking on them since I was pregnant with them and who are far from us physically.

This Thanksgiving we were thrilled to have my friend from Boston (the one that I often write about having a very special connection with even when we see each other in person every 3-5 years) as well as her family and another good friend of the both of us and her family. The three of us met in Costa Rica when we moved from Mexico and Colombia respectively, and though we only finished high school together, we have remained friends despite the distance and time.

It was very special to have them over the house that has seen my marriage evolve and where we brought both of our children as babies. But even more special, was for me to introduce my children to some of the most important friends in my life and to their children. Having them over was like having extended family around. Seeing the children interact happily with each other made me feel as if they had cousins here for the holidays. Though, my children were a little sad when we said good-bye, my 3.5-year-old showed me that she’s learning to have loved ones in the distance when she told them: “come back soon.”

By living in a different country than that of both of our extended families, my husband and I have to make the extra effort of making video-conference dates with them and constantly show them photos of our families and pointing out the presents that they receive from each of them. We want them to be global citizens but we also want them to have a connection with the people who care about them the most. So far, the familiarity with which they interact with our close friends and family when they are with them in person, has proven that our efforts pay off.

Another thing that we have to take into account when raising our family in a foreign country, is that our nostalgia and longing for our home countries and their traditions -especially around the holidays- should not be transmitted to the children in a sad or negative fashion. After all, they are just beginning to understand and follow our very own family traditions and by being sad on Christmas Eve when we call our families, we only make their holiday a sad one. That is why, this year, we decided to have a party with another 2 families that found themselves in the same situation than ours. It was the best gift that we could have given each other! Celebrating the holidays with friends who are almost like family made all of us very happy, including the children who again, had some friends playing the role of cousins, next to them.

We closed the year feeling very happy and proving once more that not because we are not with family in this country, we have to spend the special times in our lives alone. There are always friends around us who will always be like family.



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