I was granted a blessing this weekend. I was invited to share in the joy of my uncle and aunt’s 60th wedding anniversary, and was thrilled not only to attend, but to reconnect with so many of my cousins and meet so many I had never seen. It’s a wonderful and large tribe, my dad’s family. They are friendly, caring of each other, loving and close, and I feel sad for the years I have passed where I didn’t know them well.
Way back in the dawn of time, sometimes we’d get together with these cousins, but we lived far away and it just seemed that the times were too far apart for us to feel really close. Yet we reconnect and the family similarities pull us together. Life hasn’t treated all of us well, but we find enough in common to talk and laugh and treasure each other. The joy of seeing them all is beyond measure.
My mum’s family, particularly my Aunt Dorothy Anne’s family, are the same – always caring, always willing to put up with their slightly odd cousin. I cherish every moment I can spend with them as well. The Browns tell me I look like my Aunt Mary (in the habit); the Vachons and I joke about having the same cheekbones. We link up shared experiences, stories of our parents and our childhood adventures. Feeling the links through the years warms my heart, makes me feel like I am attached somewhere.
I’ve always felt rootless. My parents are long gone, and my siblings live far away now – or rather, I live far from them. I moved to Canada from Boston and never looked back, detaching from my hometown almost too eagerly. When married, we moved too often for me to develop a longing for a home town – I became, instead, proud of my ability to fit in anywhere, to settle in whatever strange land I found myself. I left chunks of myself in some places – the short grass prairie of Western Manitoba, the cool sea breezes and celtic harmonies of Nova Scotia, the grey sullenness of Kingston. I left friends behind in these places, and miss them. Now, my ex has remarried, my children are grown and are scattering to the four winds. As for me, I’m still seeking for a place to settle for once and all, still searching for that place that I can truly call MY home.
Meeting with my clan of family that I wish I knew better, I start to get the feeling that perhaps this could be my home – close to the people who without question have welcomed me back into the fold. It’s rare, that welcoming. I’m fortunate to have it.
My feet are still itchy. I still long for the sea. But I’m so grateful for these moments of connection.
Nice piece, DA.