It’s the time of year for family reunions. I’ve written before about getting together with my dad’s side of the family, but we celebrate with the relatives on my mom’s side, too. We met last weekend to have brunch and to catch up on each others’ busy lives.
Many of my cousins now have children of their own. And this year for the first time, one of my cousins has a grandchild. Heather’s daughter Laura had a baby (Alice) a month ago. The family tree has gained another branch.
We were lucky to have most of my daughters’ generation celebrating with us. With the exception of Laura and her brother Ben, all the children of my first cousins were there. They range in age from two to twenty, and although they don’t see each other often, they were enthusiastic in getting reacquainted.
We’ve been meeting at Christmas as a family for longer than I can remember. There are baby pictures of me taken under the Christmas tree at my Grandma and Grandpa Bustin’s house. One of the photos I posted last month was taken at my grandparents’ house at Christmas 1968. Now we meet at a restaurant that’s at a midpoint for most of us. Much has changed but the important things haven’t: family members getting together, breaking bread, and sharing stories.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make men at it, we make women….
At this table we sing with joy, with sorrow, We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table, while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.”
– from “Perhaps the World Ends Here”, by Joy Harjo