|Grandma, Dad, Aunts, and Uncles|
“What is family? They were the people who claimed you. In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there, regardless. It wasn’t just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger. We had many families over time. Our family of origin, the family we created, and the groups you moved through while all of this was happening: friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers. None of them perfect, and we couldn’t expect them to be.” -Sarah Dessen
This trip back was to go to my sisters wedding and visit my mother. We don’t get to see each other often enough so I usually find our shared genetic heritage kind of a kick in the pants. It was startling to hear my aunt’s voice come out of the mouth of my Cousin who I hadn’t seen in twenty years. Her husband commenting on how much I look like my aunt. Seeing the facial structure of my Mother in my face for the first time. Looking into my Brother’s eyes and seeing my own. But an even bigger kick in the pants is the shared memories, some you didn’t even realize were there until one of your siblings reminds you. According to my brother, I have the exact same mannerisms as my father driving and same vocalizations (did I pick that up as a kid?). Figuring out that an old memory when I was around 4 or 5 was actually my first visit to Mammoth Caves (something my sister helped me put together, because where else could it have been?). Freaking my sister’s husband out a little bit by doing the exact same thing as her and him questioning who picked it up from whom? (or was it independent from each other?) Sitting next to my sister’s Mother as part of her family as my sister walked down the aisle and remembering the first time I met my sister 15 years ago and how much understanding and love it took for that moment (almost enough for me to concede to a divine plan). I spent about a week with my mother just being together and told her it was good to see her after having tried to kill her off twice this past year (as her power of attorney following her advanced directive). Those were some difficult days and I am hoping that I don’t have to repeat them again anytime soon. But here’s what know – love doesn’t have to be seen to be there – simple, honest, true. The love and connection is still there despite having not seen each other in twenty years or a year or a few months – that is family for you if you are blessed.