Wednesday, June 21, 2006


My great uncle, whom I had never met prior to last weekend, is up visiting my grandparents and all the relatives throughout the state. His wife of 25 years accompanied him. Both seem very sweet people and I'm glad I got a chance to meet both of them.

I was struck this weekend by the value of what I have in my large extended family. I and the kids spent a couple of days out at my aunt and uncle's farm with my grandparents, cousins, aforementioned great uncle and his wife, cousin's significant others, my uncle's nephew and a large assortment of animals, including a couple of geriatric dogs, a handful of cats, horses, ducks, etc.

If it sounds a bit chaotic, it was. It always is. Still, as the evening wound down and my great uncle got out a guitar and everyone sang old songs around the fire pit, it was easy to feel calm in surroundings that aren't dependent on location, but on the faces and voices that have been the context of my life and my children's lives since we were born.

Likely the greatest gift my parents gave me, and one I hope I am giving my children as well, is the knowledge that no matter the places life takes me, family is the one thing I can always count on. It is not simply where I'm from; it's who I am.

I can think of little else more comforting than knowing that as certainty. And I wonder how some people in this world live without it.

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