I know some people who haven’t seen members of their family since they were young and they miss them terribly. Those family members are in other countries, in the middle of wars or still waiting for refugee status to be granted. In some cases no one knows if they’re still alive. It’s harrowing. It’s the kind of stuff that stops smiles and haunts eyes. And there’s nothing you can do to help.
I know some people who only see members of their family at weddings and funerals and spend the entire time huddled in a corner criticising the clothing and history of others there. They’re the ones with artificial smiles and cruel eyes. I’m not sure if they know how to enjoy life, or if they think they already are.
I know some people who are the people being criticised. They’re the ones who alternately look forward to and dread the function. They’re the ones with strained smiles and fidgeting fingers, as if their hands are ready to leave long before the rest of them can. Their eyes light up when they see the one brother/cousin/aunt who is still talking to them and the one whom they’ve come to see. They hug and talk, then dance together, all the time watching, watching the others to make sure they stay far enough away nothing can be said to them to spoil the day. The maneuvering doesn’t always work, and they often find themselves on the receiving end of unnecessarily cruel taunts. They sigh in relief when they leave, but the pain and injustice of those few comments stays with them a long time. Next time, though, they do it all over again, because the ones they love will be there.
I know some people who have never felt unloved a day in their lives. Their faces are serene and they look forward to spending time with their elderly mother and reclusive sister. When I think about it, those people are rare. That’s sad.
I’m thinking about families this week because I’m spending the weekend with my extended family. I’ve returned to the town I grew up for my nephew’s wedding. We arrived last night and, so far, I’ve been reminded of all the things I like about small towns and the people who live in them. Last night was full of laughter (and a small amount of alcohol). This morning, those of us staying in the hotel (in adjacent rooms) spent the morning visiting and coordinating morning walks and breakfast. The rest of the day will be filled with viewing the house the couple recently purchased and then the wedding.
And I’ve been told time is up and this is no longer important. See you next week with something special…