A view from my side.
I realize I’ve been AWOL for a while. I spent the last several days with members of my extended family. A Southerner and Military brat combined, family is very special to me. I’ve lived in many different places over my lifetime and have never really put down roots. My brother is firmly rooted in KY. My mother was firmly rooted in Texas, but as she got older, decided she needed to be nearer to family. Since I’m the nomad, she settled in KY a few years ago. So, I spent the last several days in KY with family.
I know I don’t have to go through all the cliché sayings about how important family is, everyone knows…or at least, should know. And, as I get older, I find that I want to connect with my family more and more. As a unit, we all sort of went our separate ways a long time ago. But, we have always taken the time over the years to get together. My brother and I wanted our kids to know each other and have an opportunity to spend time with each other. Even though we lived hundreds of miles apart, we would meet up somewhere for family trips. Sometimes we met in WVA for rafting trips. Other times we would meet in the state parks in GA or NC for a week of hiking and exploring. Other times, we would come together for a holiday or spring break visit in one or the other’s house. It didn’t really matter where or what we did, what was important was the DOING it.
While 2 of my boys still live with me, they are for the most part “on their own.” Our schedules don’t mesh well and we are all very busy. They prefer their friends and activities to spending time with the “old man” and I understand that. I also know that, should I live long enough, they will feel the pull of family ties and take the time to visit and spend time with me. My oldest, away at college, calls/texts and has already “come home” more than a few times for a visit. My youngest, Kid#4, lives with her mother and is another story all to herself. But even she realizes the importance of family. Every time she comes over she asks if her brothers are home and will she be able to spend time with them. It is interesting to watch/live the dynamic as we all seek to find the time for ourselves as well as the time for our family. Family priorities change over time and while I always desired to be on my own, I never forgot where I came from and never hesitated to visit.
Did I run while visiting family? Yes, I did get a 4.5 mile run in. My mother walks for about 45-60 minutes every day. So, while she was out for her walk, I went on my run. I offered to walk with her but she insisted I get my run in. I protested, but she over ruled me and sent me on my way. I passed her several times on my route, as we both went through her neighborhood. I waved and spoke each time, letting her know it was me passing her by. (She suffers from Macular Degeneration and while she can see “some”, she has difficulty seeing “all.”) There she was, upright and striding, red and white cane in hand, walking down the street. She’s a tough old broad, a typical Southern matron, hard as nails when she needs to be.
I chose not to run the second day of the visit and instead spend all of it with family. We went on a museum trip downtown then back home where we had the big family meal. All of us sitting down around the table, eating, talking, and sharing our experiences. The stories and the laughter adding to the collective memory of family gatherings. Of course, one of the main topics of conversation was about the family members not present. My children, our cousins, our aunts and uncles, along with other members of our extended family that we have not seen in so long as well as stories of those no longer with us. We each brought everyone up to date on what we knew and had heard lately from and about the rest of the family. It was a nice time. It was a time I have come to treasure. It was Family Time.