whole family

The older I get, the more I think about my family. "And is your whole family here in the States?" People ask me this often.

"Whole." "Family." What a hard question. My family is not whole, not when they're an ocean away. Not when I can't see the birth of my nieces and nephews, nor attend my cousins' marriages, nor visit my Lao Ye and accompany him on his daily walks. He's in his mid-90s and still takes a walk every day.

I realize I'm going to be that aunt. The foreign one. The Aunt From America, who everyone will always hold at a distance but tolerate, because she's family and you don't turn your back on family.

Unless you're the foreign aunt who left for America and did just that.