My cousin got married last month. Now we live nearly on one side of the country and he lives on the other so it is a fair trek from home to his place – almost 5000 kilometers door to door. But when the invitation came, we didn’t even think about the distance. Some events just demand your presence. Something inside simply says ‘I must be there’ and so you go. Sometimes the timing is off and you have to tell yourself to shut up. Fortunately, the timing was good and so it was possible to respond positively to that inner voice.
It was a good decision. My cousin is a family man, and so the family was there. Cousins I hadn’t seen in years; nephews and nieces who had grown from ankle biters to alluring adults; little ones on their way in and older ones on their way out. The family: growing, changing, transitioning. For some it was the first meeting and for some likely the last.
Like all reunions it was a point in time. A point from which one can remember the past, live the present and envision the future, where an individual can see himself as part of a continuum stretching in multiple directions, like sitting in the hub of a spider’s web, strands reaching out in all directions, connected in ever widening circles around the central core.
Re-connecting and catching up was all around. Stories were told, histories unfolded and the foundation for future histories was laid. Generational information was passed along to be stored, used, and passed along again. Memories were created and reconstructed. Old friends to some became new friends to others.
Special and, yet, in so many ways just another
reunion – of family and friends of family.
I thought a lot about how fortunate I am; to have family I like and friends to care about, to have family willing to share their friendships with others in the family, to be able to gather together, friends and acquaintances, to share in a time of celebration. I know not everyone is so fortunate.
I am going to another family reunion soon – this time of the professional family of child and youth care. The Canadian national conference is coming up in October on the other coast, in Prince Edward Island. From one coast to the other, just a few months apart – different families but the same feeling of belonging there. A time to reconnect and make new connections, a time to catch up and create memories – all the same opportunities, just in a different context.
And in this we are also all fortunate; to have a professional family of caring to which we can all belong, feel at home, accepted and valued.
If you are a part of this branch of the family, I hope to see you there. And if you belong to another branch – well, you sure would be welcome. After all, it too is an ever expanding circle of caring.