|Four of my kids had already left|
by the time this photo was taken.
This past weekend we hosted a “West Coast” family reunion for my husband’s mom’s family. Some of the folks who came are people we’re close to; others we see only at these types of events. Growing up, my family held a reunion every summer at a grange hall central to most families. As a child, I loved these events. They were a time to play with my cousins – play that included running through the nearby field without anyone being worried about traffic (since there wasn’t any) and making up and performing “shows” on the real stage that was the centerpiece of the hall. As I grew up, I tried to avoid the reunions or any other gathering that smelled of reunion. I no longer wanted to run through the fields (silly me) or pretend to perform on a stage and I certainly didn’t think I needed to spend my day visiting with people I didn’t even know. My mom never made me attend, but she’d often say things like, “I’d really like it if you went,” or “It would mean a lot to me.” I swore I would never say such things to my kids. Well, as in so many other things in life, my thoughts on reunions and family events have changed over the years and last week I found myself sending all of my kids an email in which I wrote, “It would mean a lot to me for you to be there.” Even as I wrote it, I marveled that I was doing so. And was it true? Did it really mean a lot to me for my kids to be there? It did. Not only did I want to see them, but also I wanted others to have an opportunity to see them, to maybe reconnect a little.
The event turned out great. Six of my seven kids were here for at least a couple of hours. One of the couples that is our age spent the weekend with us and their son and daughter-in-law stayed overnight at the last minute. We sat around the table talking and laughing until our sides hurt. Not only was I happy my kids showed up, but also I was happy these other young adults showed up. We may not seem to have much more in common than an ancestor, yet, often, that is enough and, perhaps, that is something we understand more fully as the years go by.