Saturday, October 27, 2007

Family Parties Where You Don't Know Anyone

Chris's Grandfather's birthday party was today. Big fun at his Aunt Penney's House.... Have you ever been to a family get together where you know almost no one??? There had to have been 75 people there, who seemed to know each other, and we knew the guest of honor, Chris's parents, brother, a cousin, and a random aunt. The rest were faces I swear I had never seen before.

Please understand, I come from a small family. My mom's family lives in California. I don't have any contact with them because there was never anyone my age to keep in contact with. My dad's family is from Texas. He has 2 sisters and a brother, but they don't live anywhere near by and don't make a habit of regular contact. I only have 2 cousins (and they live in Arkansas). My grandparents generation hasn't kept in contact since before I was born. So that leaves my immediate family. I love them dearly. My brother and his wife and 6 kids are great. My sister and her daughter are wonderful. My parents are the best. But we all live a distance away from each other and we touch base 2 or 3 times a year in person. We're only a phone call away, but somehow we never seem to take the time.

It's taken years to learn the basics of my in law's family structure and who is related to who, yet they never cease to amaze me...Parties like this pop up once or twice a year. People are generally related through some great aunt or uncle. Everyone brings their spouse and kids. Many are in their 40's and 50's. More are 60++. My generation is the smallest represented, but we're a tight knit group, apparently. For today, the part I was most happy about was the jumpy castle for the kids to play on.... So we chatted with the odd cousin and aunt, gave our best wishes to the Grandpa (he's 90 by the way), watched the kids jump on the castle and enjoyed the good weather.

So I wonder who will come to my 90th birthday party?? Will my future family be more like my family of origin or my husband's vast network of step aunts, cousins, and the odd uncle?? I kinda hope it's like my in-laws. There is a lot to be said for getting together, even with people you don't know well or at all. It's an opportunity to pass on what's important to us and give our children a heritage to build on. It's time to chat and be social. It's a connection you can't find anywhere. And it's a chance to share our faith. Chris had some great conversation with his cousin today. Seems he's interested in finding his faith again. He's got an interesting theological mix of hard core Calvinism and New Age. It'll be interesting to see what that goes. Yeah, I hope my 90th birthday party is a place for in laws, out laws, cousins and friends to come together and celebrate life and connection.


The Daniel Family said...

My in laws are the same way. Derek's parents expect us at EVERYTHING. The funny thing is Derek's half sister is not invited....Anyway! We usually have fun even when we dread it. I do hope when I'm old my nieces and nephews remember me and are good to me! My family sounds much like yours....I see my sister alot these days. SHe moved near by and my mom and I have always been close....but one of my brothers is so anti social (unless you see him in person).

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