So between my mom and sister, grandparents, my mom's two sisters and all our cousins, there was much family fun and love to share. Now, that didn't mean there weren't adult problems between my mom and aunts and other varying forms of family dysfunction.
But the bosom was still safe and warm. And then we grew up.
I was in college the last time we had a family holiday meal together. Thanksgiving. My sister and I sat at the kiddie table, but I didn't really mind. Since then there's only been a handful of times we've gathered. All three were funerals: my grandfather, my aunt, my grandmother.
At my grandmother's funeral my cousins and I were older and a little wiser, most of them had children as did my sister, and we had the best intentions of getting together more often. My mom and sister did get together with them at other non-funeral events, mainly because they all lived in Visalia and Fresno still, where we all grew up.
I didn't, though. Mama A and I lived in Santa Cruz and we didn't have children, and weren't planning to.
Even the most open-hearted of men don't form the familial bond like women do. Women carry the family flame, children or not, and are usually the ones who keep the fires stoked.
Unfortunately even my immediate family's embers are barely a-glow now. My mom and dad battle daily with broken bodies that get weaker and weaker and live too far away, my sister and I are estranged, we rarely talk to her children, and our having a child hasn't made one bit of difference (with the exception of my parents).
I have however rekindled some family love with my dear Auntie M's family and that's a start (Auntie M was married to my birth father's brother).
I'm learning how to start those fires. Hey, daddies can learn stuff, too.
Fortunately Mama A's extended family remains close and our recent trips to see them in Nevada and Illinois has again restored my faith in family. It was our first trip to see the Illinois family and they were all so very gracious to us and happy to meet Beatrice. And Beatrice earned her wings on her first flight! Woot!
My lessons learned in the Land of Lincoln: lead self, lead family, lead the future.
The bosom feels safe and warm again, exactly where I want us to Bea.
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