What I Love About Family Reunions

What I learned at my Family Reunion

Aight, so I just spent a weekend in East Texas for a small family reunion and couldn’t wait to blog about it! It was about half of my father’s siblings (4 but one is a cousin), their families (4 spouses, 10 kids, 3 cousins) and grandkids(21). Did you count that? 44 total and we missing an easy 9 members. 20 of the 44 people came from far east Arkansas for this quick & quiet Family Reunion. We don’t see each other much so each time is precious ā¤ļø. I jotted notes throughout the weekend because those 20 relatives hadn’t seen me since my Incurable Trinity diagnosis. They hadn’t seen my disabilities live and in full effect. I was treated with kid gloves and the love made me stronger and more resilient than ever. I started blogging as an outlet to deal with my failing health. Now, I’m much more capable of speaking and living without the anger and resentment. Now, at family events and general public appearances, I’m in such a good place, I’m able to enjoy these moments in a way that I never was before. I can be present and feel comfortable just being me, joking, drinking, smoking, laughing, taking pictures and chronicling the occasion.

Seeing Family

In the pantheon of reasons to attend a Family Reunion and best things about a Family Reunion, seeing them gotta be numero uno. Without rolling out the stereotypes of drunk uncle, cool aunt, mean this, nice that, it is fun to see whoever. My wife is surrounded by family, everything from sibling to cousin to grandmother lives within 30min. Me? I grew up with two younger siblings and friendships I cultivated or fell into. Family Reunions were just that to me, a simple reunion of family. Look, as a kid, I saw the entire roster of paternal and maternal relatives for summers and major holidays so I know my Fam but there’s only so close you can be to anybody distant. All that being said, I’m 40 now and love seeing my Family. It’s not just the faces and memories, it’s the special languages between you all, the code words and wink winks. The way my Family uses and speaks of medicine, there ain’t no pills or liquids involved. šŸ¤  When certain people ask if you want a beer, it’ll be a few minutes. Men, over the age of 50, take spontaneous group trips to Walmart for random items. šŸ˜… Naw, I’m not old enough to go with them but ONE DAY… Watching how differently my siblings and cousins parent compared to myself is a hoot as well. Growing up, you swear all parents, in the Family, are the same. They fuss, yell, take away privileges, and generally crush your childhood in-between forcing you on family trips and eating vegetables. Then, when YOU have kids, you start to get it but comparing parental styles is where true comprehension and transparency begin. Not even the whole mean vs nice stuff. I’m talking about the basics of communication. Some of US use curse words in regular conversation with the kids. Nope, they can’t do it. šŸ˜‚ #NoJudgementHere. This is the magic and mad ite everything worth it alone. Seeing and catching up with Family.

Learning secrets

Wait, wait, wait. Before ANYbody gets too crunk on what I mean by “learning secrets,” I’m more focused on how said secret affected relationships, rules for kids (like myself) and the overall parenting styles. Please, allow me to set the scene. I’ve always wondered why my Family doesn’t drink as much others. Yes, I know it’s personal preference and private blah, blah, blah but I noticed when I became a stout drinker and defender of alcohol games, that most of my older people did NOT drink as much as me. This Reunion, I paid attention to stories and took mental notes to ask my parents later. I learned alcoholism was a close, consistent element of their childhood. As such, they’ve always made it a priority to not abuse it. Simple stuff. Regular, American family story. It really is. What makes it hit home is the realization and respect for all the players, in all the stories. Then, it’s the sudden recognition that these aren’t stories when your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and spouses are laughing, chopping and reminiscing. These are frigging EYEWITNESS accounts to the rationale, reasoning, motivation and just for lack of better words, WHY-WERE-YOU-LIKE-THIS of your parents and people. You can connect the dots to why specific rules were in place. Why they freaked out over such small stuff when you were growing up. It’s truly an experience. You heard a lot of of it as a kid but you’re grown, with kids… You can kinda see where your parents were going with you and why. I appreciate it. As a parent now, the stories show how my father developed as parent. I don’t know how to put the words together in a professional manner so I’ll just with, “Yooooo, my Pops is humble AF around his siblings and peers. My Momma tho? Shhhhiiiiiid, she is confident AF with the SAME crowd!šŸ˜…šŸ˜†šŸ˜‚ Shame it took 40 years, 4 kids, Incurable Trinity, GAP mantra and Positivism for me to see it but now that I do? I feel like I’m a wiser husband and more patient father immediately. I left my Family Reunion excited and full of… I don’t know what to call it. Full of feeling like I KNOW I grew up because I saw and see a whole new way of looking at everything. I can literally see dots, lines and connections between behaviors, demands and people. Sounds wild huh? I’m telling you, I see it and it excites me to use it!



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