I’m going to admit that for the last few weeks I had been apprehensive about this trip. I hadn’t been part of a gathering with my dad’s family in seven years. My nuclear family rarely lived close to relatives. I didn’t grow up with aunts, uncles or cousins down the street or even across town (except for a brief stint in Atlanta in the early 1980s). When I was a kid, we would drive from Atlanta to Detroit for regular summer or holiday visits, but those became less frequent after we moved to Texas. Once I was out of school and had a family of my own the visits became virtually non-existent.
Immediately following my grandmother’s funeral in 2010, I connected with a number of people on Facebook and there’s been a expected amount of keeping up- comments, liking of posts and such. This marked the first time for me to to see [most] everyone since.
“Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” –George Burns
I wasn’t sure what to expect. We all live our own different lives compounded by geographic spread. I wasn’t dreading going, I was just anxious for no reason. I’ve tried to make better sense of the feeling, but can’t quite put my proverbial finger on it. I think my introverted self was afraid of the requisite small talk and the fear we did’t have small stuff to talk about. I didn’t want conversations to strictly be about the past. I wanted there to be connections in the here and now.
In the end it was great to see everyone. Much shenanigans with Laurel, Dan and Shannon. Great to see everyone else even though I was at a loss of where their lives are now. Glad I went. Looking forward to finding time to go back.
Header image from public domain: Pietro Ayres, “The La Marmora Family”, 1828, oil on canvas. Note: Whilst probably of no relation, the artist’s surname, Ayres, is also my paternal grandmother’s maiden name.