Yes, I realize it is only May, however watching Bones rerun on TNT that takes place on Christmas Eve, a line of dialougue was spoken that inspired me:
“Christmas is going home to Michigan and heading into the woods with your brothers to cut a 12 foot Christmas Tree. You all decorate it together; brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews. Forty people that all love you and are happy to see you. That my friend is the true meaning of Christmas.”
-Dr. Zach Addy, Bones
I think the reason this touched me so much is that it is something I have always craved and never had. I always wanted to be around all the other kids in my family with the Aunts & Uncles around laughing and carrying on. I wanted that crazy Aunt who drank too much eggnog and the wacky Uncle that told inappropriate jokes around the kids. Just to have family to be around for the holidays.
My brother & I were kept isolated from both sides of our family by geography. That was one thing I loved about Jerry’s family. We always held family get togethers at our house with all the kids
running around and all the women (and Donald) in the kitchen while the guys did whatever they did. It was great having all the Aunts, Uncles and cousins around. We didn’t see them often, but we always had Thanksgiving and a summer BBQ at our house (one year Thanksgiving was supposed to be at Aunt Teresa’s, but her house caught fire the Monday before and destroyed the kitchen! Luckily Jerry & I were able to pull together dinner for 20 in 2 days!). I love having extended family around even if we only get to see them 3-4 times a year.
I don’t recall ever having a family get together on the maternal side of my family. I know there was at least one on Mothers Day 1973 because I have the clipping of the article and my picture in the paper with 3 generations on each side.
The only one I can recall on my paternal side was a Christmas sometime between 1977-1980. I remember how amazing the table looked filled with food. As a little girl the table seemed to go on for miles and contain every kind of meat ever associated with a winter holiday. I remember my Grandpa sitting in the living room with a cigar and being fascinated by the little alcove you walked through to get from the living room to the dining room and Aunt Judy screaming from the kitchen for people to do things to help.
While the memory is a fond one, it is also kind of sad because I never had anyone to play with. By the time all the cousins started being born, we were long gone. Aunt Barbara was long gone before then and besides her kids, I was the oldest grandchild so until 1978 (when my brother was born), I was the only young kid around. I actually thought I was the oldest grandchild until Auntie Barbara sent me a picture of her girls in 1995, a couple of them are ahead of me. I think I fall in the middle of her kids.
Now as an adult, I am very sad not to have grown up with family around. I would have at least liked to be around family once a year just to keep up communication. Growing up I did not notice my family was missing. You can’t miss what you don’t know. I didn’t really feel the loss until I was in my early twenties.
I am fortunate to have paternal relatives that I maintain a relationship with now and look forward to every chance I get to see them, they don’t realize how much their acceptance touches my heart. I love you guys!