Last weekend, I took my mother to a family reunion down in Texas. I hadn’t been to an event like that as an adult. I knew three people in the entire room, one was my mother. I felt odd, awkward, out of place, and strange. As a mature female of over 60, it was like being back in junior high where everyone else had gone to school together forever and I was the new kid. Awkward.
So, I sucked up my shyness and talked about genealogy, family history, and said hello a lot. I also smiled a lot and I ate far too much good food. It is no wonder all of my family tends toward the round shape, the good cooking gene runs in the family line.
As a child, I grew up away from my parent’s home town. We lived all over the place with the military, and as an adult my husband and I both wanted to be on the move. So I don’t really understand knowing all about one’s cousins, aunts, uncles, and extended family. I know my dead relatives better than the living because I am a family history addict. I am a bit like the odd duck in the family.
They grew up together, or at least with knowledge of one another. And that was a great thing to see. My memories of my grandparents are strong, and real, but these cousins are from different places than my branch of the tree. Still, you could see the solidarity, love, and strength in knowing their family was there in any time of need.
My mother loved every minute, she had looked forward to the event for months and could hardly wait to get there and meet everyone. She kept telling me that she couldn’t belove we were blood relatives to so many people. Of all of her generation, in her family line, she is the only one left. Her parents had two daughters, and my aunt passed away long ago.
Another interesting thing was how the faces looked like faces I knew as a child. The same nose, eyes, mouth, laugh, hairline, walk, and even the way they stood reminded me of other long gone family. Funny how DNA directs how one looks and moves. Strong blood lines tend to breed true. This one certainly does.
I am thankful I went. It was good to see my cousins, two of the few, from my youth that I actually remember. I am thankful that family is so important to our extended family of cousins that they have this reunion every year. I am thankful that I was able to visit the graves of my great great grandfather and grandmother who started our family lines in Texas and Oklahoma.
Maybe next time, I won’t feel so disconnected and awkward. And, perhaps, I will know more than three people in the room.