I love family.
That’s what I came to realize this past weekend, as my duo set off for Colorado to see their father and my partner and I remained immersed in the good fortune of his family.
As his part of his family came to town for a holiday visit, mine were shuttled off within a few days of their arrival. In truth, their departure kills me every time, even if it is “long overdue” and “so needed.”
As parents, we know the day will come when they must “leave the nest.” Divorce life, however, forces some of us to fill that void just a bit sooner than the rest.
Fortunately this go round the void was tempered a bit by the visiting family of my compadre. Distractions can be and often times are a good thing. So as my duo set off to make memories and enjoy the holiday week with their Colorado family, I did the same in the 95361 with his family.
One night, amidst all the mayhem, laughter and storytelling, I thought back to my childhood. As an only child, I lived for family get-togethers. My mom was number 11 of 12 children, that translated to 28 cousins for this only child and I’m not complaining for a minute about this good fortune. When our family gathered, just like this past weekend, it was loud, fun and memorable.
As the youngest of the crew, getting in a word amongst all the mayhem was never easy. Everyone was always talking. The adults told stories, the older cousins would chime in on their memories and me … well I would try really hard to get a word in.
Mostly us young ones would sit back and take in the loudness and the laughter. It was magical. More times than not our nights would end curled up on a couch or chair in the living room, lulled to sleep by the loud noise of family.
You know it’s a good time, when after close to a week of gathering and memory making you realize only a handful of pictures were taken. That’s the good news, bad news one might say. Photos after all are a wonderful way to freeze the moments and relive the memories in one image.
It’s also important to recognize the good fortune of not just a fun, loving family – but simply family as it is. Not everyone is this fortunate and just as I mention the good fortune of my own family, time (and a virus) may see that fade.
As my mom is number 11 of 12 many of her siblings have now passed, while others face some of the health challenges of aging. We all live in varying zip codes now and “catching up” seems to pose a bit more of a challenge than it once did. Just like other families this was largely impacted with the onset of COVID-19.
This past week, however, I couldn’t help but just sit and feel grateful. Grateful for the noise, the mayhem, the laughter and the memories. As we grow older – the adults and the children – these are the moments which fill our cup, make our lives full and bountiful.
What a gift, I thought to myself as the house went quiet. To not just know the love of family, but to now have my children surrounded and immersed in the same crazy memory-making goodness. It is indeed a good life.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.