This fourth of July was a memorable one. David and I planned a bbq with my family–all 18 of us–here at the house. I was really looking forward to a day of fun with my family, enjoying each other’s company and celebrating the birth of our great nation. Wednesday my mother called and told me that my cousin, Craig, and his family were planning on coming up for the holiday, and she hoped they could join us. This may seem a bit ordinary, but it is far from it.
I hadn’t seen Craig, or heard from him, in twenty years (nor had anyone else in my family). The last time I saw him was at my memiere’s funeral. Twenty years. I was just a teenager then. Out of the blue he phoned my parents and asked if he could visit.
I’m so glad he did. It was great getting to know him. Because really, I didn’t know him before. I saw him once a year during our family vacations, and back then he seemed so much older than I that we just didn’t connect. Hearing his accent immersed me in memories of my childhood. And they were beautiful, happy memories… Lobster and melted butter. Fishing with hotdogs off the dock. Swimming in East Pond. Picking blackberries. The loons calling over the water. Chocolate cake donuts rolled in sugar. Fishing in the yellow rowboat. The way the oars sounded as they moved through the water and then rested in the boat. My memiere and how she would laugh and laugh, sometimes unable to stop. The chilly August mornings that gave way to beautiful, sunny warmth. And sun glinting on the water as it set beyond the lake.
I haven’t reminisced about these things in years. Probably since my memiere died. Maybe even never. And now I realize how much I miss them. The happiness and the careless days we led. The people I barely knew, but adored. There is no doubt they helped shape me. We are grown now, and some of us are gone from this life. We have taken different paths, we are scattered across the country. But when my cousin and his family came to our house, we were one, big family again. Craig, I’m so glad you called. I’m so glad you came.