Luck of the draw?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my family lately. No particular reason, at least as far as I’m aware.

Maybe it’s because of all the recent Facebook backlash. Like so many, I’m not happy about the role they played in the Russian meddling and Cambridge Analytica data breech — but am loath to disconnect because it’s such a great way to keep up to date on all the comings and goings of friends and family who live elsewhere.

Maybe it’s because of Easter and Passover. I’ve written before about how we weren’t particularly observant, but we did love to get together as a family for all the holidays.

Then again, maybe it’s because there’s so few of my family members left.

It feels surreal sometimes,  because there were so many of us — on both sides, both my mom’s and dad’s. We were all very close and spent lots and lots of time together. But at holiday times, like Chanukah and Passover and the High Holidays it wasn’t just the immediate family, we also saw all the members of our extended family, too.

Luckily I really got to know my great grandparents on my mother’s side. I was 15 when my great grandfather died and I was in my early 20s when my great grandmother passed. It was at their house that we always congregated. There were way too many of us to go for a meal, but we’d show up, en masse, in the afternoon for tea, cake and cookies. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Everyone. So many we’d end up spilling out onto the street when the weather was good enough — or into the hallway once my great grandmother was on her own and moved into an apartment.

We always looked forward to seeing each other, we always had tons to talk about and we always had a great time.

On my dad’s side I never knew my great grandparents. For that matter, I didn’t even know my grandfather, he died well before my parents met each other. But there were still tons of us and every time my grandmother had all of us over for holiday dinners it was the same story. There were tables set up in every room of the house, including my grandmother’s bedroom. The kitchen was an absolute madhouse, but it worked. And it was fun.

Sometimes I think about how it is that I ended up with the family I did.

There are those who believe they know the answer to such questions. I can’t say I do, I’m still working on it. But of this I am absolutely certain: If I’d been handed a catalogue and the freedom to go through it and pick whoever I wanted, I couldn’t possibly have ended up better. Yes, I am blessed.

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16 thoughts on “Luck of the draw?

  1. We used to have family gatherings, sometimes at my parents where we’d have our dinners in shifts, or else family picnics where we’d all meet up with something for the table. I’ve done posts on both and loved them, but the family has dispersed and we are all now miles apart, not just in distance, but lifestyles. With Dad and now Mum no longer with us, there is no nucleus and I am still closest to my brother in NZ, who is actually the furthest away! Just the way it is, but we are in regular contact despite the miles.

    • You’ve nailed it — it’s the same in my family, and probably most. When the older generations are gone, the nucleus is gone, and we all end up having separate lives. It’s good that you’re still in regular touch with your brother.

      • Bro has always been there for me. My other siblings and I have never been close, and I can’t see that changing to be honest. I have nephews and nieces varying in greatness depending on the generation and wouldn’t know most from Adam. To be honest, it doesn’t worry me that much, and from the other end as a niece, I have contact with my remaining uncles and aunt.

      • I’m an only child. I do have cousins I am close to and in my immediate family there is just one uncle left who is in a nursing home in Montreal.

      • I’m the youngest of 4, and Bro is the younger son. I was brought up with ‘The Waltons’, and so wished my family life was like theirs!
        I had a good childhood though, plenty of happy memories and parents who loved me, and for that, I am grateful.

      • I had a wonderful childhood, and a loving and supportive family — both immediate and extended. When we’re young we are blissfully unaware that they (and indeed we) won’t be around forever. It’s a rude awakening when one day, you look around and realize there are far fewer still around than the number who’ve departed. Such is life of course, but it’s kind of a shock nonetheless.

  2. Somehow, it’s on the holidays especially that we tap into all those fond get-togethers and meal extravaganzas. A big family really envelopes you as a child, and I include those times in some of my fondest memories, too. They help form who we are.

  3. My family is meagre these days, though I too knew my great grandparents, and my sons knew at least one of their great, great grandmothers. I am happy for my youngest son, designed if ever a lad was for a big family, who has been well and truly adopted by his parter’s close family and thrives on it.

  4. Your post really spoke to me. I’ve been thinking lately how sad it is that so many people I was brought up with in New Zealand are no longer around. My great-grandparents (paternal grandmother’s parents) were big influences. My great-grandad died just before I was 10, but I had my great-grandma until I was 21. In fact, I lived at her place for a year when I was at university: she had the house, I had the granny flat out back! She was always telling me off for washing my hair in the morning and not having sugar in my tea. She had wonderful tales of old New Zealand. I was doing a NZ history subject at uni, and I would discuss some of it with her, and she could tell me first-hand about the people and places. Her observations and memories were much better than reading it in a text book!

    • We are very lucky to have had our great grandmothers in our lives for as long as we did. I loved mine as well and she was an amazing role model. Strong, open-minded and independent to the day she died. And totally ahead of her time.

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