'Reuniting, cause we understood '
Minor MusingsSummer is fast approaching and that speaks different things to different people. To Floridians it shouts, "Brace yourself, here it comes - scorching heat and humidity." To snowbirds it whispers, "Spread your tiny wings and fly away ..."
Published: May 2, 2010
Published: May 2, 2010
Since I grew up in Michigan, I'll always be somewhat of a snowbird, but I've been a full time Florida resident for four years now and quite content to stay put. Still, somehow, this summer, Michigan is calling my name. No, it's not the memory of blue Great Lakes and green rolling hills, though they are alluring. It's my mother's family reunion in July, and in a moment of weakness I told her that this year I would go. What was I thinking?
The idea of seeing my many cousins and their kids and grandkids is appealing. It brings back so many happy childhood memories. Swapping stories and photos with them could be a lot of fun ... or it could be the proverbial train wreck!
What if no one I know even comes? What if I get there and find we have nothing in common? What if they don't even remember me? What if I can't think of anything to say?
Well, that last bit is highly unlikely for me, just ask John. But seriously, I am wondering if I'll make this long trip only to find that no one cares and the whole thing is totally depressing. After all, many of our beloved aunts and uncles have passed away now and their kids don't even come to the reunions. Guess they too doubt it's worth the time, effort and expense.
To get us all in the mood and entice fence-sitters like me, one of my cousins created a Facebook page about the family and encouraged everyone to post memories and old photos. Good idea, right? Yesterday I looked it up online, and there they were - all the people I remember but haven't heard from in 20+ years. Could anyone not go to the reunion after looking at that?
Yes ... me!
All the people I remember as happy kids and young adults are now wrinkled, overweight, and gray-haired. Even though I'm the same, in my mind they are still young and active - the way they were when I last saw them. Isn't it better to remember them that way? So much time has passed I barely know them. Maybe I'll just join the online chat and keep a safe distance.
So today I posted on the Facebook page my favorite old photo of my mom and her 10 siblings at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. I remember that day, just barely. Wonder who else does. Guess I could always use that as a conversation starter...
The more I think about it, maybe my reluctance to attend the reunion is not so much fear that no one will know me, as fear they'll feel like I did, disappointed that I'm not the child they remember. Then it occurred to me that none of them really knows who I am any more. And I want them to know.
I also want to get to know the people they've become. So I took another look at their current photos online and I realized that those aren't wrinkles, they're laugh lines. These people are not so much overweight, as full of the joy of life. I see that now, and that's what I want them to see in me, too.
We are all so blessed to be part of this happy, evolving, motley crew that we call family. We need to embrace it, and each other. And we can't do that online.
So, I've dropped the apathy and angst. This summer I'm cranking up my car and my courage to go spend some face time renewing relationships with people I loved and almost lost.
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