Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thankful For Family This November

Mom and Dad
My Mom, Her Aunt and Grandmother in Wyoming

Dad & I
So all over facebook there are people posting about the things that they are Thankful for, at least one a day for the month of November.  I did that last year but a lot of it just came down to one thing.
My husband's parents at their wedding
 And it wasn't a thing. What I kept writing about in my list was the people who are my family and friends.

When I was a child, Family was My Mom and Dad and I, living a long way from any other relatives in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  I thought family was a rock solid, unchanging concept.

Great Grandma Emma Lafferty Slack and I
Then when I was only a couple years old, we moved diagonally across the state from the South East corner to the North West. Back to the part of Wyoming where my Mom's family had long roots.  Suddenly I had Grandparents and great Grandparents and Aunts and Great Aunts and cousins by the dozens and I was happy with the change.  Adding more family was great.

And we added more.  When I was nearly 5 we adopted my baby brother, and when I was 12 another brother was born and more cousins came along and family was a growing, entity.  A wonderful circle of loving security.  I am grateful for those years.

Of course they couldn't last.  Sooner or later everyone learns that family isn't permanently growing, sometimes it is losing members too.

My cousins divorced, My great Grandmas both died at age 98 and another 18 year old cousin died of cancer, and another, favorite cousin came home from the marines safely only to be killed by a drunk driver.  Then my Mom's Dad died of Cancer before I graduated from High school.

And  I grew older and moved out and my home was just a converted garage with my 19 year old boyfriend in it.

Greg and I at 19
My wedding finery! just an hour after the JP married us
and then I was moving farther away, and the boyfriend became a husband and my family expanded to include all his, in-laws and nephews were great to add in. But all too soon there were days of driving between my family in Wyoming and us in Ashland, Oregon.
When My family came to visit Ashland, Oregon where I was in College

 and a month after we graduated from college in Ashland, my Mom's mother died.  I didn't like this part of family.  The losing ones you loved part hurt.
My Brother and parents at Niagara Falls
 but life moves on even when there is pain and the good years came back and my brother and I and my husbands sister were busy adding babies to the family and life was noisy and exhausting and wonderful.
Greg and I during our term as exchange students in Beijing
Some of the best years

 but all too soon my Dad, who loved being a Grandpa, was dead of esophageal cancer, as was one of my cousins.  My Mom and brothers were changing and moving on, and we heard from them but didn't get to spend enough time together, and family expanded to take in a Day care Grandma and day-care babies who lived with my babies from 7 AM to 5 PM every day and were more like siblings than friends.

Lance and my Mom after Dad died of Cancer

My Maternal Grandma and I
 And still life moves on.  My Mom is aging and her memory becomes confused. Talking to her on the phone is difficult and a strange trip into fears and confusion.  She had to move out of her house this year and my Brother Lance had to give up his 19 year job to move with her. Now in DC they are farther from me than ever, but closer to my brother Brett.

My youngest son and his lovely girlfriend
My sons are grown up and the family home is more a revolving door with people in or out and me never quite sure if it will be empty or full.  There are new children in our life, great nieces and nephews, a grandchild on the way, the babies of extended family. Life filling in the gaps because a vacuum is never allowed to remain
My oldest son working on a crab boat
My Brother Brett and his New wife
 So the family I am grateful for this year is not the one I loved as a baby, not eve the same one it was last November, but still, yes the family and friends are the part of my life I treasure the most.
Mom and my brother Lance

1 comment:

  1. Loved this, D. Esp. the picture of you on your wedding day and the one of you and G. as Beijing exchange students - pretty sure I never saw the first one before. Love always.