Thursday, February 15, 2007

Life Cycles

On Valentine's Day my Grandmother, Alice, turned 85 years old.  She's still vibrant and healthy.  We celebrated with a huge family party.  In spite of the fact that my family is rather dysfunctional and most of us just don't care for one another's company much, family ties are strong.  More than 80 people showed for this woman's birthday celebration.  They traveled to Virginia from as far away as Washington state to be with her.  I saw 6th cousins at this party!

There were all sorts of children running around, chasing balloons, giggling, stealing icing from the cake, and being reprimanded by  mothers.  My cousins and I reflected on the fact that it used to be US running around like holy terrors at these family functions.  This time we were the ones being the grown-ups.

My grandmother received as a gift a picture taken in 1926 of a huge family picnic.  Everyone in the picture is pigging out on watermelon, (much like us at some of our family get-togethers).  In the picture my grandmother is a dirty-faced little four year-old girl.  At that picnic, she was running around like all of our children were Wednesday night.  In that picture was my great-granny, being the grown-up, complete with a baby in her arms.  And there beside her was my great-great grandmother (my grandmother's grandmother), white-haired and wise, a woman I only know from family stories and a granite tombstone.

I payed special attention to the taking of the big family pictures that night.  I wonder if one of those snapshots will be pulled out at Emma's 85th birthday party.

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