My recent family reunion reminded me that it’s important to have roots in life. Everyone needs a base, a center, etc. If you’re a Big Bang Theory fan like me, then you can say, like Sheldon, it’s your 0,0,0.
Like many Americans, I don’t know my lineage beyond a few generations. I know the Ritchey’s who settled the small town my Dad comes from were German, that I have a Scottish grandmother and a bunch of other DNA thrown in, including some Native American.
I’d like to know more of that, but for now, I’ll focus on what I know. My dad was one of eight children, of whom four are left, including my dad, thankfully. From the time I was 5 or 6, we had our reunion at the same place every year, for a week. Yes, a family reunion that lasted a week. It was because those eight siblings and their families had spread all over the country. It was difficult to time everyone getting there at the same time and wasn’t really worth going that far for a day or weekend. Of course, many only did the weekend but I stayed the whole time almost every year.
I had one cousin, in particular, who was only about 10 months younger with whom I could pick right back up where we left off, after a year, as if we’d just seen each other the day before.
It was important to me to have this, since both of my grandparents on that side had died before I was born. I didn’t have that sense of lineage, or legacy. My maternal grandmother also died before I was born, and my maternal grandfather, the only grandparent I knew, died when I was just four, so I have few memories.
My many aunts and uncles were my only connection to where I came from. They and my cousins were my reminder that I was part of something bigger, though I only saw them all once a year.
In the last few years, some of us have returned to the old place we had the reunion for so many years, though only for a weekend, not a whole week. There were a lot fewer in attendance this year, but the memories of those gone were shared.
As my dad’s generation fades, I’m so thankful for the time we’ve had and the time remaining. It sure makes you feel how fast the years go by. I was also reminded that feeling old is, well, relative. Pardon the pun.
As I was talking with a couple of more distant relatives this time, and acquainting/reacquainting ourselves, I remarked that we started having the reunion when I was 5 or 6 years old, and now I’m 46. They told me I was young yet. I was comforted by that perspective. I do need to work harder on my long term goals, and more urgently. I’ve started doing that over the last year, though. I don’t have time to waste, but I do have time. Time to be a writer, to travel, to meet my soul mate, and grow old together.
As I do all that, I will carry a legacy of a generous, spirited, warm and fun-loving family. I will strive to bring them honor, and to be the man I’m meant to be.