The World According to Renee

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For some people, family is their tribe; it’s where they belong. For others, family are people who are physically and psychologically abusive. Some families are distant, some are close, some are families by name (and DNA) only.

My father’s family have always been close. There are nine siblings and twenty-something children between them. During my childhood, there were regular get-togethers, especially at Christmastime. I remember Christmases (or, more likely, Boxing Days) at my uncle’s house which were especially exciting because he had a pool. Long after my cousins had gone off to listen to music or watch a new video or play a computer game, I’d still be in the pool splashing around by myself.

Even now, my aunts and uncles still get together at least once a year, when they can. They’ve spread over the Eastern Seaboard now: I have an aunt who lives about three hours’ north of Brisbane and an uncle who lives in Hobart, but the majority still live in or around Sydney. (I’m now mentally trying to work out who lives where…)

My cousins are a different story. I have twenty-something cousins and trying to keep track of them all is quite a feat. All but three were able to attend my grandfather’s funeral last year. It’s always lovely to catch up with my cousins although I admit it’s through Facebook these days; trying to get us all in one place takes a lot of planning! I hope we’re all able to get together sometime in happier circumstances.

This past weekend, my aunts and uncles came together for their annual weekend on the NSW mid north coast. It was a lovely weekend, marking the first anniversary of my grandfather’s death. For the past few years, my grandfather had made the trip along with his children and much laughter was had. This year was only slightly sombre as we remembered our patriarch. My sister and I were the only grandchildren who went, but we’re both glad we did. It’s always lovely to see our family and catch up. There are no dark secrets in the family (that I know about, anyway….) and many memories.

One of my uncles and his son put together a slide show of Grandad’s life, which we watched over the weekend. Because so many photos were paused and memories discussed, it lasted well over two hours. I loved hearing those memories: from a camping trip in the Blue Mountains to a particular panel van to a game of ‘Which Grandchild is That?” In every photo, my grandfather is smiling; it’s how I remember him.

After the slides, another uncle showed some footage taken the last time Grandad was able to come. He spoke about his proposal to my grandmother. Yes, aunts and uncles, I saw you shed a few tears while watching it.

I am lucky. I’m lucky to have a family who are good people. I’m lucky to be able to attend a weekend like this and share memories. I’m lucky to have a family who still make time to see each other and connect. I’m lucky to have aunts and uncles who are so willing to share.

Thanks to everyone for a weekend not hastily forgotten.


March 9, 2017 Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections | | Leave a comment