Last week was a good week for family connections. While I was working in Scottsdale, I had the rare pleasure of spending some time with two of my cousins. They are sisters; two of six siblings in their family. It took all the time we had to catch up again on the whole lot!
Back in the day, my dad’s sister lived near our grandparents in farm country. I always thought they had it good, living a few short miles from Grandpa and Grandma. Their farmhouse perched high on a hill, fields falling away around it. My cousins worked hard on the farm and around the house. They played hard, too.
I have fond memories of the farm, usually seasoned with summer. A rainbow of hollyhocks standing tall by the milk house. Bouncing across a hayfield on a tractor with Dennis, who never made me feel small. Swimming in their in-ground pool, a well deserved perk for their hard work. Playing school in a hot, dusty room that seemed miles from the kitchen. For years I had a frantic recurring dream of being lost in their house, it seemed so large.
Most of the six were enough older that I never truly felt that I fit in, although they tolerated me kindly enough. Over time, it might have been easy to disconnect, if I had been so inclined. But I’ve discovered there is a tie that binds us, regardless of age or life circumstances. Common ground has expanded under our feet as we’ve walked the path of parenting and middle age, as our grandparents have left us behind and our parents have become the oldest generation. My dad and my aunt are gone now, too. We never thought it would happen so soon.
Last week we celebrated a sixty-something birthday in the Arizona sunshine. We talked and listened and laughed. We prayed. We enjoyed the birds and the bunnies and the refreshing blessing of an oasis in the desert. We ate and drank well, relishing the richness of our slice of life. And we celebrated family: good, bad or indifferent; left, right or center; Protestant, Catholic, or another flavor of faith. There’s nothing so much like home than to spend time with my people.
~ René Morley