Sunday, January 1, 2012

Family Connection pt. 1

  I am not from South Carolina. My folks moved down to Charleston a few years back when my step-dad got a job there. For years since we have been always in commute to see one another, from Chicago, North Carolina, Seattle, Michigan, and back again in every which way. Christmas only added travel miles to the commute.

Since the death of my grandfather my mother and two aunts took it upon themselves to host Christmas for the entire family to get together. The way in which it worked out was that they would each take turns hosting the get togethers, rotating from one household to the others. One year we would get together in Toronto where my aunt Liz and Richard lived. The next year we'd get together in Windsor where my aunt Paula, uncle Dan and cousins lived. The year after that we would all congregate in Michigan where my mother, Harley and I had been from. Once Harley moved out of Michigan on contract work and I left to Chicago on affairs of the heart we both (Harley and I) had to truck back no matter where Christmas was being held.

When my mother finally moved down to Charleston it became that the three of us all had to commute back. But this year was different. Driven out of necessity due to the lack of space, my parents elected to arrange for the entire family to stay together at a large house in a town nearby their home in South Carolina.

It was beautiful. For the first time in any of our lives we lived with our entire family. Though every Christmas the entire family would get together, we would be spread out over additional family houses or hotels. By sharing a common house for 3 days and nights we lived together as a whole family.

Words cannot begin to describe the pure joy it evoked.

A friend recently asked me what had made the trip so wonderful and I was at a loss for words. We, uhh... had dinner together. And, um... got up together?.

"That's all? I don't get it. What else did you do?"

We watched that video of the ultimate dog teaser and repeated the lines from it continuously? We got to all do different stuff and still betogether with one another in some shape or mannor? Nick was there?

What can I say? It wasn't that we did something radical or experienced some event together that was all that memorable. It was just the mere fact that we did it together. I would wake up in the mornings to find different combinations of family members in different stages of their day in various parts of the house. Sometimes my mum and aunt Liz were busy in the kitchen preparing food and drink for everyone. Sometimes my Uncle Dan, Nick and two or three of my cousins were out enjoying the outdoor day. Sometimes Harley sat and read while my uncle Richard, Dan and I sat outside chatting.

We would go out in different groups throughout the day; my mum, Harley and I off to run an errand; my uncle Dan, Harley and I preparing the turkey and fixins'; my cousin Helina, my mum, aunt Paula, Liz and Richard together downtown. After the morning wake ups and at the end of each afternoon we would regroup; the eleven of us together. Each night we gathered for a meal as a whole family.

When it was time for me to leave (my flight being the day before the rest of the family's) I experienced an unexpected feeling of sadness and malaise. It wasn't that I hadn't expected to feel saddened leaving my family, but rather that I felt upset. I felt as though I was boarding a plane to Chicago it was taking me away from home. For the first time I felt like the first pie piece of pie cut must feel leaving the whole.

It was strange. Even if I lived closer to home - the Windsor, Detroit area - it would not be as though all of us would be living and staying together. Far from it. But something magical happened just by getting up and seeing my family in my home.

to be continued...

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