Tuesday, June 24, 2008

And then there were three...

[My grandmother, Emmie, and her girls, lined up, as always, in age-order... standing: Eulene, Quida, Emmie, Billie [Vivian], Anna Lyn, and Lois;
back row sitting: Betty, Carol, and Mary; and front row: Gail.]


...and then there were three -my cousin [the one who lost her mother, Lois, this month] and I had this same thought at the same time on the Saturday morning we were preparing for the funeral. I know every family is different, and original, and unique - but let me share a little about mine - a family definitely dominated by the women in my life... including the three [very] strong women who are / were my dad's sisters. But where do I start? From my earliest recollection this is a family that is always 'there' for each other - despite whatever squabble might be going on at the time [and with nine women, there's bound to be something going on...] - if someone needs a listening ear, the others are there. Always. Even when you might not want them to be. They care. This is a family of faith - and dependence on the Lord - we attend different churches, but we're brought up to be Christ -followers. And know He is the only way to eternal life. This is a family with no secrets - trust me on this [I won't go there bc some things just shouldn't be told - but hey, we told / heard it anyway] - we know each others' secrets. This is a family where the men [the uncles] appeared to stay in the background but might really be the glue that held it all together afterall because they knew how strong the bond was between these sisters and supported their need to be together. This is a family that is forgiving - we know each others' faults, accept that no one is perfect, and we love anyway. This is a family that communicates [and I think the cousins will need to start doing a little better with this] - for as long as I can remember, my Mom and her sisters were early risers [4:30 a.m., anyone?] who would touch base with each other every single morning by phone. Even now, when I'm back home I'm usually awakened by the sound of multiple phone calls coming in. It's how the day is started. This is a family who enjoys being together - growing up all the family who could would be at my grandmother's every Sunday afternoon. [Imagine nine adult daughters, husbands, and 55 grandchildren visiting at a two bedroom house....and I'm sure there were days when we were ALL there at the same time.] Can't you just see the sisters sitting on the couch talking and shaking that foot...This is a family that shares many variations of the same memories - playing under the wooden bridge, finding snakes and crawdads in the branch [is it true that if they pinch you they won't let go until sundown?], gathering eggs in the morning, being careful of the pump house, wandering through the hills and being on the look-out for the 'old bluff woman', horses, cattle, gardens, hollyhocks and gladiolas, and going to the storm cellar and telling ghost stories under musty old quilts by the light of kerosene lanterns when a storm blew up... This is a family that is multi-generational - I have at least one cousin who is older than my mom, and some cousins have children my age... despite the age differences we still enjoy being together so much. This is a family that has always loved photographs - I'm blessed to have copies [and some originals] of these very early photos, including our grand parent's wedding photo - odd as it might be... This is a family who met each others' needs [and still would if the need arose] - food, clothing [hey girls, remember the box of hand-me-down clothes? As one of the youngest cousins, I was always last to get the fun stuff], shelter from harm? Someone was always there to take you in or assist. This is a family that likes to have fun -some of our 'family stories' are still hilarious to me - we see the humor in life and can let loose with some good ones... I'm so blessed to have grown up with them surrounding my life. This is my family...

1 comment:

becky voyles said...

Hi! I came to your blog via the scrappin' diva's site. I read this wonderful post after having spent the afternoon with my 80 year old favorite aunt and my mom. They were rehashing their dating days where they looked much like your family here. I am lucky enough to have old photos too. They told me they used to go to the YMCA dances where it cost ten cents to get in! When they went somewhere like this, they always looked out for each other. My mom came from a family of 9 siblings. Not many of them left now, but the stories they told... Despite all their differences they still love each other and would do anything for their remainging brothers and sisters.