Went to the Adams Family reunion and apart from Jim, Mark and Dave, it featured a room full of 40 or so people who I really didn’t know. I think most everyone was in the same boat. There were factions of people who seemed to have some on-going combined history, but for the most part people were strangers to each other...and almost everyone was a stranger to me.
This reunion was the doing of my father’s only surviving sibling, Aunt Alice who I last saw at my father’s funeral 20 years ago. Also present was her husband, (Uncle) Bob and their children Steven, Chris, Mary and Mike who I last remember seeing when I was about 10; My cousins Beverly and Doug who I’ve probably not seen since the 1950’s; and my cousins Adam and Matt who (despite seeing them the night before) I hardly knew and had seen only once before that when I was about 15 years old.
Though somewhat surreal, the day was pleasant and I think that’s mainly because we all just wanted to get together. Aunt Alice and Uncle Bob seemed genuinely happy to see me - actually to see us all - and despite the busy-ness of the day, I managed to have quite deep conversations with both. With Aunt Alice there was a lovely conversation about our shared appreciation for my father: I know that she was closer to him than any of his other siblings and it was nice to connect with her that way. She is one of the few people who sees him the way I do – most everyone else is/was a bit in awe of (or felt intimidated by) him. Aunt Alice and I talked about my the depth and strength of my father's character; his deep love for his family; his goodness. We both miss him, immensely. Uncle Bob expressed his (surprisingly deep) appreciation for my adventuresome (restless) spirit and wanted to know - in great detail - about Max's and my life abroad.
Most of the people present were my generation of cousins: I caught up with a few of them, spoke to their wives and children (some near-adult 2nd cousins from Cleveland who are now plotting their own travel adventures in Australia), but the most glorious piece of it all was my 2nd cousin Julia (daughter of my cousin Dave) and her lovely little family. Julia is married to a wonderful fellow named Chris and together they have a gorgeous pistol of a daughter, Ella. Julia is of Max’s generation and she, like Max, handles and manages the insanity and intensity around her with grace and dignity. Perhaps the difficulties of their early years is what has helped forge them into such remarkable adults, but I think both of them must have been born with an extraordinary sense of self to have become such strong and clear adults. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know Julia better, am hugely proud to be related to her and am very happy that she has made it a point to reconnect with Max . I am going to encourage him to attend to that connection.