As the dust settles on the holiday season for 2016, I have some time for reflection and offer some realistic observations. The past two weeks were a prospecting mission to foresee what future interactions between adult family members will be like.
What strikes me most profoundly is the complete lack of homogeneity, and yet, we are united by blood. Each member of our family is different and unique and at no time was that more apparent than when we were all gathered in the same space.
We saw cousins that we don't often see, and realized that as the family grows, our time commitments get more thin. We pledged to do better at keeping in touch and crossed our fingers that we make it a priority.
The greater extrapolation of an empty nest is the realization that we had several generations of families who have all experienced children becoming adults at one time or another. Yet, we still gather and enjoy spending time together. I suspect that is the truest glimpse of the future. Years ago, my siblings and I left our family nests. We still congregate with each other when we can and appreciate the family time.
We hosted mom at our house and realized now it’s our turn to take care of things for her when she’s in our home. We stocked up on her favorite coffee, put extra blankets in the room, set out favorite family photos. We want to make her feel at home with the same graciousness we feel when we visit her home.
The difference when we visit our childhood home is a built in sense of familiarity. My brother found the spot on the wall that he etched his undying devotion to a grade school crush. We walked around marveling how much smaller it seems today than when we were kids. We were threatened with punishment if we opened a door to a messy room. Though we laughed, we realized that mom's “Board of Education” still stings in our minds if not on our behinds.
We surrounded ourselves with touchstones to the past, made memories of the present, and looked forward to the future. And that is the note to close this series. I'm looking forward to the future.