Thursday, September 27, 2012

Random Thoughts on Family Reunions

Unlike most folks, I just love flying. The more time I spend in an airport the better as far as I'm concerned. Where else can you people watch to your heart's content and read your book with no distractions. So it was, with a loaded up nook and a paperback of Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout, just in case, that I flew last weekend to Pittsburgh for a mini family reunion.

My sister picked me up at the airport and we headed on to Steubenville, Ohio, where my brother and sister-in-law settled more than thirty years ago. Don't ask why. I love the dynamics of families! As a psychological study, can there be anything better? Probably 80% of the novels I read revolve around families, usually dysfunctional, but that's ok. Aren't we all to some degree?

What's remarkable is that siblings and in-laws, as disparate as they can be, manage to function pretty darn well together when you get right down to it. What's more, when push comes to shove, we love each other even if we haven't really known one another all that well. How could we really? Each of us pursued such different lives in varying parts of the country, priorities changed with circumstances, barriers to happiness have been many. Illness and divorce have taken their toll, but now, as the baby among us has turned 60, we seem to be mellowing out, coming into our own, morphing into the people we were each meant to be, and embracing our individual strengths.

In my family, as I surmise is true of most, we have long marrieds, divorced, and singles. Gays and straights and some still questioning. We have Republicans and Democrats, equally vocal. We have Christians, Agnostics, and Atheists, who I hope will always be given equal respect. We are a novel just waiting for the writing. Who will do it first? My nephew who's walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela? My sister, the former newspaper columnist who made our family famous in Falmouth? Or, maybe even me?

Lest I forget, the reason for this autumn trip to Ohio was not just to cool down for a few days but to welcome new babies to the family. My niece just gave birth to identical twin girls, playmates for her two year old! She's my new idol.


TooManyBooks said...

They are adorable!!

TooManyBooks said...

They are adorable!!

Sallyb said...

Welcome back Maryellen. Can't wait to hear all about it. They were so easy! Eat/sleep/eat/sleep. It was the 6 year old who kept everyone hopping!