This time of year is a reflecting time of year for me. Lots of quiet thought during the waning hours of daylight.
Thoughts of time passing on, traditions, transitions and the like. Almost like I need to sweep out the crowded corners of my mind so there is room to take things in once again.
In all that processing, inevitably thoughts of family cross my mind.
Family is dear to me.
|My Great-Grandfather holding my mother.|
If you look carefully, you'll notice his left arm is missing.
I used to think that if I truly valued the relational ties of family, then that would mean all the relationships would be well formed, mutually attached, and constant. I believed this was a requirement- one I always felt pressured to make 'all important' and one I was always failing at. Certainly familial love was the most important thing, and I tried in vain to take care to make everyone happy. Wasn't that everyone's part in a family? I was just doing mine.
|Middle frame: my Abuela and Papa Bill (father's parents)|
Left frame: little girl on far left was my great-grandmother-she's sitting with her siblings
But I now know otherwise.
We are tied by blood and marriage, but not necessarily close friendship, shared values, or even a good understanding of who each of us really are.
But, you know what?
I love them.
|Middle frame: woman on far left was my great-great-great -grandmother|
Small frame: Husband
We don't all really 'know' each other nor do we all see eye-to-eye. We irritate each other, interrupt each other, offend each other, sometimes even avoid each other.
Yet still, they are dear to me.
There is a connection in those ties of common relation, traditions, and even physical appearance that really does bind family members together.
For better or for worse, we belong together. There is almost a sigh of relief there. No matter what, where we came from reminds us that we always have a place where we really belong.
And sometimes that place is a bitter one. One without security or understanding. One maybe even marred by betrayal and pain. But regardless, we are pulled there- not only from memories of joy or hurt, but also from a very basic place of origination on Earth.
|Left frame: my great-great grandmother with my great-grandmother by her side|
Round frame: a great-great Aunt
Where I came from. Those I came from.
Though I know I was created by the very thought of God, it was into a human family I was born- a family he chose just for me.
|Family on the dresser|
And so, the photographs of relatives known and unknown fill my home.
Because home is where the heart is, and my heart has been pieced together over time from each one of these lives.