Meeting with folks you don't know very well, and may only see every year or two, can feel a bit awkward. That is how I felt yesterday, at first. I suppose everyone feels that way. It's not that you don't want to be friendly, or get to know people. But somehow, you don't know where to start.
I thought we would stay only for an hour or two, but two hours stretched into six. As the day progressed, I think we all began to relax. Two babes in arms and three toddlers gave us all something to share; everyone loves babies. We fussed over the littler ones, four and six months, and were entertained by the toddlers.
I wish I had taken a picture as the youngest was held up close to Uncle Nick, who turned 90 this year. What a beautiful image it made; the family patriarch greeting this youngest family member.
My son Jess, who is a musician, had never met this side of our family. What a nice surprise to discover that cousin Carl played guitar! Jess had brought his along, so the two of them got together for a little jam session. Amy, married to cousin David's son Jonathan, joined in on the piano for a bit. We sang "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" and a few other oldies but goodies. Carl was kind to play "Crazy" by Patsy Cline for me, and I tried valiantly to croon out the vocals. Patsy is in no danger from me, that's for sure.
Our gracious hosts, Carl and Janis, laid out a beautiful meal for us. Hamburgers, hot dogs and salads were enjoyed, and I even managed to stay away from the butter tarts for a change, though I hear they were quite yummy.
By the end of the day I felt so relaxed and at home. I wish we got together more often. I wish cousin Tony, and others who couldn't make it, had been there. I wish I knew each one better than I do, and I wish I had the time to get to know them. My dad and his only sibling are gone, and these lovely people are part of him somehow for me. As Janis and I were saying, family is so important. The older you get, the more important they become. Other things in life mean less than they used to, and we look at our families with growing love and appreciation. Maybe it's seeing the generations come and go before our eyes that helps us to realize how precious life is, how precious people are. They are gifts, like the beautifully breezy day we had yesterday, the delightful antics of kids and Jake, the dog, the delicious food, great music, rich snippets of conversation, and safe travel to and from.
Thank you Lord for family. Thank you for how you fashioned each one of us, and how you continue giving life through each generation. Thank you for blessing with babies, husbands, wives, inlaws and pets. I pray you will give more opportunities for us to get to know each other better. Help us to realize your grace in our lives each day.