Last weekend, we celebrated a family wedding – we, meaning family for the most part, and some of the couple’s friends. A lot of family. And while we weren’t all there, my immediate family had a reunion – immediate, in this case, being four out of six siblings and some of their children.
We always miss the ones who are absent.
But given that we are far-flung, from Texas to Michigan, Oregon and Washington, Hawaii and California, to New Mexico, we did good in gathering to celebrate. And we had a rousing time of it, even while getting an outdoor wedding ready in Seattle rain. The rain, as if understanding the significance of the occasion, stopped for the ceremony.
The trip out was one of those nightmare-in-airplanes stories we’ve all heard. Denver, socked in by six hundred feet of fog (yes, fog!), lives up to its reputation of being a busy airport, and shut down…. well, you know what happens when a busy airport gets shut down on a Friday. Chaos. We ended up flying from Kansas City to Denver to Albuquerque to Denver to Boise, Idaho (yes, Boise), to Seattle and arriving ten hours after we’d been scheduled. Missing, of course, the rehearsal (we, the wedding presiders) and missing much of the rehearsal dinner. And the last to arrive of the several who’d had travel glitches.
But when my husband and I walked into the restaurant, applause broke out. A welcoming. You’re safe now; you’re with family. We’re so glad you’re here. Sit down. Eat. Others had guided the rehearsal and everything was fine.
I know not all families are as ours. But many families are. The groom’s families, both on his mother’s and his father’s side, are like ours. And several of us from both families stayed in the same house with one bathroom – you get to know each other pretty well with ten people and one bathroom. And the best part is, we’d never have know that part of the groom’s family without it. The other best part is that we spent a lot of time blowing bubbles at each other during the reception.
While wondering what this family thing is all about, the word, “freedom,” came to me. We are free to be who we are and as grumpy or outrageously funny as we need to be and still be accepted. Freedom. The freedom to be safe and the freedom to be accepted at a core level.
I suppose at base, I’m talking tribal here. Members of a tribe might leave, and sometimes they never return, but if they do, they are welcomed – and whoever they bring with them welcomed (at least until the new person does something damaging and then, perhaps, less welcome).
Statistics say the number of multi-generational families living in one home is growing in our country. We own some of those multigenerational families. I say that’s a good thing – good for the elders and good for the young. The middle generation may wonder what in the world they’re doing, but they go off to work so it’s probably all fine.
Take some time this weekend to reconnect with your family. Tell them how important they are. Offer your love and welcome them home. It’s fall in a very contentious year, so we all need to be circling those human wagons and staying safe.