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Q03

Think about a major milestone that happened with your family this past year. How has this affected you?

Mom's cancer. Sister's wedding. LIFECYCLE. Happy.Sad.Optimistic. EXHAUSTED.

There was no major event with my family this year - just the usual ups and downs. I guess I am still learning that it's possible to love my family and sometimes be at odds with them. It's a huge challenge to carry mixed emotions about my family members, but knowing that I love them, no matter what, gives me some sense of stability amidst the chaos of feelings.

We became 'the 99 percent." Our always upwardly mobile family became a victim of the economic crisis. My husband lost his job and my salary was slashed. I am working 24/7 to keep us all above water and the pressure is unlike anything I've ever known or experienced.

I don't know if this is really a milestone, but I think I'm learning how to stand up to my mom. Now I am able to see that she really overreacts to things and worries way too much, and I myself am doing these things less and less. I wish I could help her see the light!

My first cousin died in his 50s. He was the first of my cousins -- my contemporary family in my generation, to pass. I am reminded not only of my own mortality, but that as an adult without kids, in order for me to HAVE family, I must BE family. I have not done that very well with my generation or the nextgen kids. I try to keep in touch with my aunts and uncles but they are now in their 80s and 90s.

We finally took the family vacation that we have been deserving and needing. It grounded us and brought my siblings together who have been separated for years and years. Now as my whole family lives in different parts of the world, to be in one place at the same time having the same experience reminded us what it used to feel like!

My wife went back to school and started to work. This has completely changed the dynamic of what we can all expect my wife to get accomplished and what we need to now pitch in and do. I have found that some of the things that we all took completely for granted, now just don't get done unless we all pitch in. This has been a complete eye opener in that I realize how much I was taking things for granted, and how much my wife has really been doing for the family. I think my kids will be better off for it as well. We have a new saying in our house - "we don't have a house-elf". I think that sums it up - we used to act like we had one.

Mother's passing, end of an era.

My sister got a real job. No more pizza delivery, working in a bar, or going from one short-term thing to another. She is now full-time, has benefits, and responsibility for people other this herself. She's now really an adult...I'm so proud of her and theres no way I'll be ever to put that into words.

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