Two days ago, I got a new nephew. A baby boy was born to my wife's brother and his wife, and in a couple of weeks I will get to meet the adorable new member of my family. This pushes the nephew to niece ratio even further, now sitting at five to one. We knew it was going to be a boy, so that was hardly unexpected.
What is unexpected? What do you expect from family? What is reasonable and what is not? Currently, we are road tripping around the USA to see our family before we leave the country for two years. It's a lot of driving as everyone is super spread out. And yet I think it is a reasonable expectation that we make this effort before going away.
But again, what is a reasonable expectation? This was driven home to me when one member of the family asked "Well, what do you expect us to do if you get killed in a bombing?"
What?! Why would you go there? I recognize that many people think the world is a big scary place and that the USA is the only safe haven, but #1, they are wrong and #2, that is rude. I know there are bombings in cities around the globe. But having been in NYC during its terrible day, I guess I am of the opinion that there is nowhere that is completely sheltered from that. And we can't fear the world.
Our family has been great: opening their homes to us while we visit and giving up time and food for us. But there is a shadowy side to family too: Picking fights or picking up old fights.
Maybe it is all about expectations. What do I expect from them? Support? Housing? Unconditional love? What do they expect from me and my wife and my children? Hopefully the chance to get to know each other, to learn about each others' lives, to celebrate happy events like the birth of a nephew, and to feel a bit of sadness about our departure from each others' lives for a couple of years.
And as for what to do if I get killed in a bombing? Well, I don't expect that to happen, but if it should, I expect intelligence in taking care of whatever must be taken care of.
And perhaps I'm asking too much, but really what I expect is that no one asks me questions like that.