A few months ago I walked into my Mom’s room to be greeted not only by her, but also a group of family members: two aunts, one of their cousins and his wife. It was a nice surprise.
As I sat listening to the conversation that included reminiscing, I was struck by how comfortable I felt. I love hearing stories about my extended family that I had either forgotten or never heard. I found myself keenly aware that these people have seen me grow from a baby into an adult. They remember when I was known as the three-year old “wild child” and can tell some of my most embarrassing moments. They have seen me struggle.
On a couple of recent occasions I have met people who know one of my first cousins. Without any of us knowing the connection, they told me that I reminded them of somebody. I was amazed to discover that they actually meant somebody I grew up alongside. As Cate matures, I am often struck by the bits of her that remind me of her dad’s side side, but also my mom, dad, brother and yes, cousins. She has what many people refer to as the “Muirhead glow” (my mother’s family name). Though that glow is uniquely hers, I also believe it is an inheritance.
Too many people in my life do not have happy memories of their childhood. Many are currently estranged from family. I grieve this with them. My prayer is that while we cannot ever replace their families, we can create something new together. Every once in a while in the process of doing this we get to witness people reconciling with relatives. None of this is easy: it is usually ever so slow and often complicated.
I am grateful that the strength of my family has given me a strong foundation, one that inspires me to be even a small part of creating new spaces of home. Thank you.