Your cousin’s sister’s husbands nephew

Cherish your human connections, your relationships with friends and family- Barbara Bush

Family Reunion

Family Reunion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Granny, how am I related to him?  “Well, let’s see, you’re double kin because between Pop and me, you’re cousins on both sides”.  This was my life story, growing up in a small town.  It’s a wonder I ever found anyone to “like”.  Thankfully, by the time I was in for serious dating, we had moved away and there was a smorgasbord of available young men who I had no familial ties to whatsoever.

I originally had mixed emotions this past weekend about attending a family reunion.  When I was younger, it had seemed that being related was more trouble than anything.  The fact that I am a notorious introvert probably contributed to my angst.  The plus was that my husband would be with me and he is the opposite and usually fills in the gaps for me.

In the past, the mere thought of chatting it up all day with a large gathering of people would have sent me hunting an excuse to retreat.  This time though, I made reservations as soon as I heard about it and for the most part, looked forward to it.  Do we crave this type of interaction more as we age because we’re afraid of being old and lonely so we are trying to add to our list of go to friends?  Or, are my forties just going to continue being full of surprises for me?

We arrived at the beautiful park where it was being held and I was anxious to hear some of the almost forgotten stories, figure out who was who and get reacquainted with old friends and family. I also wanted to get a look at that family tree and try to figure out this double-kin stuff for once and for all.

I enjoyed watching the children running around, sounds of their laughter mixed with the lighthearted banter of the adults.  I took pleasure in the grandparents proudly displaying pictures of the most brilliant grandchild ever to be born and some of the “elder” cousins harmlessly arguing in the same way they probably did in their younger days.  The food was plentiful and delicious and I hoarded some of my Aunts delectable fudge for later in the hotel room.

I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed myself as in the past I ran from this type of event.  But on this beautiful Saturday, I found myself hoping for another one next year, making silent vows to see some of these people more often.  Some are old and we don’t know how much time we have left, to hear their stories and learn about them as well as from them.  So I ask myself again….Have I really changed that much or do I now just finally possess the wisdom to appreciate them more?

Whatever the answer, I am blessed to have so many wonderful and interesting relatives.  There are a lot of similarities and also some differences, but when all is said and done, we are blood.  We should get to know each other, be there for each other and love one another regardless of differences.

Mitch Teemley

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