The Diminishing Candle

Families are like scented candles. Some families are practically perfect, resulting in good scented candles. While other families have major conflicts, resulting in the “Schnitzel With Noodles” candle from Yankee Candle. Candles have several purposes in life. Some are used for aesthetic purposes, others to make a room smell good, and some to use as a source of light.  All of these purposes allow for an environment that one can feel comfortable in, which is something every family wishes they can provide. Family reunions should be known as celebrations full of love and meaningful connections, but not every family can resemble perfection. As people grow older, a majority of families start to feel more distant. When you are young, families feel like a brand new candle; full of wax. However, as time goes by, the candle slowly fades, as do family connections. 

A news company named Gallup, created a study titled, “The Frequency of Family Dining According to U.S. Parents” that showed that, “Fifty-three percent of adults with children younger than 18 say their family eats dinner together at home six or seven nights a week.” Family meals are known for providing a way for families to spend time together and build a better relationship with each other. However, some people lose their priority for their family as time goes on. Jobs, friends, school, etc. take over our lives and we get too busy to spend time with our loved ones. It is understandable that we have other priorities in life that take time away from family, but eventually it bites us back once we start to feel more distant from our loved ones.

In my personal experience, though I am still very close to my family, I can’t help but feel disconnected from them as time grew on. Family reunions with my dad’s side of the family used to be a big celebration, one that would have about 30-40 people in a house at a time. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the number has reduced to 20. Family friends have stopped coming, a portion of our family has moved away, and some cousins are away at college and don’t have the time to come back. It is difficult to feel close to your family when you barely get to see most of them. The new absence of a loved one lights yet another wick of our family candle, causing the candle to diminish quicker. I remember when I was younger, my cousins and I would play so many fun and childish games like hide and seek, tag, and card games. Now, most of us are so exhausted from a full week of work and school that when we get to see each other at family gatherings, we simply just stay on our electronic devices and lay in bed, which makes it hard for me to connect with them like I once did.

There are various ways to connect to other people. A podcast from 99% Invisible, “Mojave Phone Booth,” told the story of a phone booth that was placed in the middle of the Mojave Desert. People used a simple phone booth that was practically in the middle of nowhere to talk to other people on the other side of the world, so I wondered why it was so difficult for some to connect to their family members, who are so close to them in distance. Overtime, the phone booth was taken down, leading to Doc questioning if he should’ve posted about it in the first place. “Had I known I might not have done it,” said Doc, referring to posting about the phone booth, eventually leading to its removal. Though it is hard to take time out of a busy schedule to spend quality time with our loved ones, even a simple family dinner together can change the relationship with them. One day, we will all have a family of our own and as sad as it sounds, it is a part of human nature to go through the process of death. The world is a scary place with possible near death experiences happening everyday, so we should make an effort to make a connection with our family members while we still can. 

To add to this idea of regret, a video made by Butterworks titled, “Dad, Let’s Eat,” tells the story of the relationship between a father and a son. In this video, the son feels the regret of moving away from his family, now that his father is close to passing. The montage in this video shows the happy relationship between the father and the son, while he was younger, to when the son grew up and they started to bicker. As we grow older, we start to form our own opinions and thoughts, which are often different from our parents. This leads to arguments that slowly create a larger emotional distance between each other, and you start to get used to not having them around. However, just like candles, the love from our loved ones light up our life. Though this may not be the case for some, families are some of the only people that we can count on to stay and be there for us when things get rough. We were born into a community of people who we spent our entire lives getting to know, and that should be no different just because we’ve grown up and gotten busy.

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