We exit the highway, my father and I, onto the main street that runs through my hometown. It’s snowing lightly and the sky is iron gray as we pull into our driveway. As I walk down the sidewalk to the front door, I notice that my mother has already decorated our front porch for the Christmas season with ribbons and bows and a wreath she made herself.

Stepping inside I smell the familiar scent of cinnamon and cloves and vanilla - the scent of the holiday season at our house. All of us are home together, but all in separate rooms. My dad in the living room, my mom in their bedroom. My brother hides away in his room while I am in mine.

This is normal. This is how we have coexisted for the past at least 11 years of my life. We only interact as a complete family on the rare occasions we eat dinner together in the dining room or at extended family functions.

I know that it’s not as strange as it feels; most of my friends live like this as well: keeping your family at an arm’s length in order to stay sane. I think that most people throughout their teenage years and 20s do this. I’m sure that for some people, they do this for most of their lives. But I really do wish I had some sort of close relationship with my family, but maybe that’s just Christmastime well-wishing speaking.

I have tried to open up to my mother as she is the more approachable of my parents, it just happens that she makes everything about herself and her “reputation.”

And so I close myself off to them and go about my business like I always have: very carefully.

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