To me, there are two types of family--the one you're born into and the one you choose for yourself.
This weekend, I was fortunate to get to spend time with both sides of my family, if you will and it was a great experience.
I'm really fortunate when it comes to the family I was born into. My maternal grandfather was one of seven kids and that side of the family places a great emphasis in family. And not in a Sopranoes sort of way, though if you did mess with us too much, we would put a hit on on you. It really started 42 years ago when Granny Hooker died and the children, realizing that she'd kept the family getting back together at least once year was a good thing. So they decided to start a tradition of having a family reunion every year on the first weekend of August. And it's been on that first weekend for the past 42 years. Oh sure, we've changed locations a few times, but the tradition of coming together to catch up, visit and eat a lot of really good food has become something that, quite frankly, I look forward to year in and year out.
And the thing is our family, for the most part, gets along. We like spending time togther and really any excuse will do. Yes, we have the reunion each year, but you can pretty much count on a good showing at any family wedding. And you can count on a good showing of support at the sad times such as family funerals. I take a lot of comfort in knowing that good or bad, my family loves me and stands behind me.
And were that all I had, I think that'd be enough...but I'm blessed to have the family I've choosen for myself as well. And coincidentally, elements of those two families center in Knoxville. Knoxville is home to the reunion, but also to my old church and the friends I've made there over the years. People that I care deeply about and am just priviledged to have as part of my life. It's why I look so forward to reunion weekend each year--I know that I will get to see both sides of my family, if you will. I will have a couple of days with the biological family and then get to visit my church family on Sunday morning at the world-famous Bearden United Methodist Church.
So, this weekend I got to spend a lot of time with family. I got to be amazed at how the kids have grown in the past year on both sides. I still can't get my head around that some of my cousins and KB are old enough to operate an automobile. Or that some of the kids who used to beg my cousin Ben to "throw them" in the pool are now old enough to be going off to college or have kids of their own. But yet, in all of that change, one thing remains the same--the love I feel from them and I hope that they feel from me.
I truly am blessed. And that is the thing that makes me happy for today. And not just happy, but content.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/08/2006 12:25:00 PM