Saturday, October 25, 2008

Finding Family

I have many Aunts, Uncles and cousins on both sides of my family, but rarely get to see most of them. Typically we are like most families: when someone dies we see everyone at the wake or funeral. My Father's side of the family is not as close as my Mother's side of the family. I only have 1 Aunt left on my Mom's side; her 2 oldest sisters and only brother have passed away, but we don't even get to see their families because they are spread around the country. My Aunt that is living lives in the same city I grew up in, and we get together at Christmas every year. I do see those cousins more often than any other family now. When I was younger, Mom's family used to have an annual BBQ and we used to sing songs and have a great time together. Those memories are among my fondest of my Mom's family.

Like I said, my Dad's family is not as close. For some strange reason, my Dad and his 2 brothers (who all lived in the same city until 3 years ago when the youngest moved across the country) were never that close. His only sister moved away 40 years ago and they've only been to visit a handful of times. Until a couple of years ago, I barely even knew that her family existed - an entire family full of first cousins I had never met. At least with my Mom's family I had MET my entire clan of cousins!

After my Dad had gone to Arizona to visit his sister for her 70th birthday, he gave me an email address for one of her sons, my first cousin whom I had never met. So, I sent him a "Hi, My Name Is" message and we started getting to know each other through email. It turned out that I was going to a conference in his hometown that coming June, at his own Church! So we met for the first time at the Church and I even went out to dinner with him and his sister (whom I had met briefly when I was young). On the next 2 return trips to the yearly conference, we met up again and it was so great to get to know this family who I had never known. They even got their entire extended family together for a BBQ in my honor. It almost made me sad, that I was robbed of the years that I could have known this part of my immediate family.

About 5 years ago, my cousin talked his youngest brother (who wasn't even born until after they had moved away from this area) into tagging along on a visit that their Mom was making to see our family. We happened to have a graduation party scheduled that same weekend so we incorporated their visit into the party and it was like a mini-reunion. I know my Aunt has found great pleasure in knowing that her kids and her extended family from "back home" have come to know each other.

In keeping with my theme of reuniting family that I never knew, I was on FaceBook (my latest and greatest addiction!) and found a man with the same last name as my family name, so I sent him an email through Facebook, asking him if he was related. Gutsy, I know! But he responded quickly and it turned out he IS related - he is my Father's first cousin! My Grandfather and his Father were brothers. It's funny, because he is the same age as my sisters, and has a couple of brothers and a sister. My Dad and his Uncle were having children at the same time! So, here we are again, back in that "getting to know you" stage with family I should have already known. I am hoping to arrange some sort of family reunion of ALL portions of my Dad's family eventually.

And then, there are those family members you wish you'd never met.....but that's a WHOLE other post.

Have a great weekend,

1 comment:

lemonologie said...

Facebook is great at connecting and reconnecting with people!