Friday, February 3, 2012

The Real Meaning of Family

A million words have been written about the importance of family, but I don’t think we truly appreciate our families until we reach the age when we know leaving the planet sooner rather than later is fast approaching like a runaway freight train. At this point in a person’s life, all the petty reasons why contact with some family members ceased seem ludicrous.

When we reach the age when our parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts have all passed on and the kids are grown and living their own lives, we suddenly realize “holy crap” we are next. While old age mostly teaches us that our bodies and minds are fast going the way of the dinosaurs, our hearts yearn for family. Love transcends time and space and gives us the strength to endure watching our bodies submit to gravity and our brains turn to mush.

I had the pleasure of visiting with family I had not seen in years yesterday in Tucson. Although this extended family is by marriage only, they are indeed still family and we go way back to when we were kids playing together in the southern California summers and then Sandy and Ricky would go back to their mom and stepdad in northern California at summer’s end.

You see, my twin brother and I never knew our father because he died when we were very young. Our stepfather was the only dad we had ever known and we were nine or ten before we even knew that Sandy and Ricky were stepsister and stepbrother. It was quite a shock actually and hurt deeply because being stepchildren held some resentment and scorn in those days by some family members. Nonsense to say the least and you would never know we were not blood related yesterday. In fact, Sandy’s sister Christine (whom I had never met) commented how we all looked alike in so many ways. That statement was music to my ears because we all looked at each other and smiled. It was true – so much for being stepchildren.

We had come full circle and left the restaurant parking lot after many hugs with the commitment to never stay out of touch again. I headed for my home in northern Arizona, while my brother Walt headed for his home in Tucson. My brother Ricky, his wife Marie and my sister Sandy left for northern California and my new sister Christina headed for her home in Palm Springs.

It was a short, but meaningful family get-together and I look forward to seeing them again soon. Ricky invited us to go fishing on his boat in Santa Cruz and Christine offered her guest house to us anytime we pass through Palm Springs. My wife Sandy was unable to be with us and was missed by everyone, especially me. Between e-mail and Facebook, I am sure we will stay in touch in the coming months. It will be fun to share stories about getting older and what kinds of moles are being removed on any given day. OK, that part will not be fun, but what the hell…it beats talking politics or religion!

One parting thought, why didn’t I get the camera out of my coat pocket and take a group photo for this blog? Because I’m an idiot, that’s why!

I’m just saying,


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