Friday, August 1, 2014

Thoughts from a Family Reunion


A word, concept and people that have brought much joy, sadness, confusion, support, and love throughout my life.  Somewhat unexpectedly, God has been reshaping me and rebuilding family around me. Life is always moving forward. We joyfully welcome new generations at one end and wonder how long we have left with the generations beyond us. There has been reflection on past memories and a look toward the changes coming in the future.

Last weekend I attended a family reunion with my dad and granny. As the oldest one there, Granny seemed to be the one everyone wanted to meet. I was proud to be there with her, to hear her say, “This is my granddaughter Tia.” One day she may not remember. I got to hear stories from her cousins about growing up that she can longer remember. But I can remember them. Once again I was reminded of the power, purpose and love of family. 

I have so many wonderful memories with Granny, some big events and others just little moments.

I remember… she always called me Alice because of my long blonde hair. It always made me feel special and incredibly loved. (I asked her last week if she remembered that. She said she did and that I was still Alice to her and still in Wonderland.)

…when she gave me my stuffed dolphin for Christmas (his name is Bubbles and I still have him)

… the Christmas we had up north with everyone. It made her so happy to be in her home surrounded by her family.

… I went on a road trip out east. One afternoon her and Auntie told me stories of their teens and early twenties and gave me (unsolicited) advice. At 19 some of the conversation seemed a bit awkward at the time, but what a gift to be poured into and loved like that

… the trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon where we saw a coyote and Tiff and I took a different trail than we expected and weren’t sure we’d be found. 

… the back and forth banter between her and Grandpa that sounded harsh, but in a weird way expressed their love for each other

… being able to spend Christmas Eve with Granny and Grandpa in the hospital, our last Christmas with him. Back at the house that night, Granny, Tiff and I put on trash bag dresses and modeled them, laughing hysterically.

… while driving Granny home from a doctor’s appointment asking her to tell me honestly if I was the favorite grandchild. She replied, “If I say it’s not you, you’ll drop me off and leave me. Of course you’re my favorite.”  No offense to you other grandkids. I hope you can accept your fate ;)

and so many more…

I have to admit, these days it can be a bit draining to spend time with Granny. Sometimes I still see the sassy, spunky grandma I knew and sometimes I only see the woman in a fog surviving day to day. That’s what makes it hard and hurts my heart. God alone knows the number of our days, both hers and mine. As long as there are days left, I want to make the most of them. Every opportunity I have to honor her, respect her and show her I love her I want to choose to take no matter what it cost me. The sacrifice is temporary, but the memories last. 

I may have over 30 years of amazing memories already, but I am not done making them yet. 

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