I was working on an editing related post today, but I got derailed from that by the news that my aunt and uncle from Arizona were in the area and wanted to meet up. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but my house isn’t “drop in ready”, though I wouldn’t term it a total disaster. And I did find out this morning that they were going to be in the area. So I had a little warning. Good thing I already don’t expect to get much work done on Tuesdays since that’s the day Brianna is home with me. I managed to get things picked up, run the Roomba (love the Roomba!) and clean the kitchen through the day, in preparation for their arrival.
We had a wonderful, three-hour visit. This is one of my mom’s sisters, a side of the family I’ve had very little contact with since my mom’s death almost 15 years ago. It’s actually a large family, my mom had 8 brothers and sisters, and each of the 8, with the exception of one (who’s been a bachelor his entire life–but is getting married this weekend!) had multiple children. Many of whom have had multiple children. Like I said, big family. But it’s been since my grandmother’s death…ten years ago? That I’ve seen most of the family. It was the last time we were all together and will, I suspect, be the last time. Some of them are barely speaking to each other (if at all).
One of the great things about meeting with my aunt was hearing stories about the family–and my own childhood. Keeping in mind that my mom died when I was 17, basically just a child really, there were a lot of memories/undercurrents that she never shared with me. Had she lived, these are things I probably would have learned with time. And family drama would have been shared with me via her. But with her passing, I wasn’t close to anyone/didn’t keep in contact with anyone. During dinner with my aunt and uncle, I learned things that I never knew, such as my mom’s reason for keeping me back a year in school (I could have started a year earlier but another aunt convinced my mom to keep me back a year so I’d be in the same grade as her daughter). My aunt Yvonne (the one I had dinner with tonight) disagreed with this decision. She said I was a bright child, more than ready to start school, with good verbal skills. This caused my other aunt, Sue, to take offense in some way and was apparently the cause of a now lifelong rift between them. Weird, huh? The delightful thing was Yvonne said that one of the most common statements she heard from my mom during my school years was how bored I was, because I wasn’t challenged. She said she never said “I told you so” though. I love it!
It was weird to me, to hear about my mom talking about me, to think of my mom as well, a mom. Like me. My dad and I don’t have conversations about my childhood. Maybe dads don’t hold the same memories of things. And since I’m not close to any family, there’s no one to tell me those stories. It was neat and it kind of…made me long for more.
One of the other fascinating things that came out during our meeting was that Yvonne is very passionately interested in geneaology. She’s researched our family line back to…well, I think I heard 40,000 names as a number mentioned. My grandmother’s roots are in England, royalty and aristocracy. My grandfather’s? German peasants. Harder to research, she says 😉 But the history she told was very interesting, and all the “bad” ancestors and their stories (one was a lawman who found out his wife was having an affair. The story goes that he put her lover in a brick wall, walled him in, and made her sit outside and listen to him die. Cold!).
So anyway, the few hours I spent getting the house in order was totally worth it, to reconnect to some family, hear some stories and spend some time with someone who remembers my history. I might even do it again sometime 😉