Family Reunions…Oh My!

family reunion blog pic

One of my goals in life is to be skinny at a family reunion. I don’t know. I’ve just always thought it would be cool to walk into a family reunion and have Cousin Betsy ask Uncle Harold, “Who’s that tastefully-dressed, tall, skinny, blonde woman carrying quiche in a designer pie plate?” It hasn’t happened yet. They always seem to recognize the loud, tall, chubby, blonde woman wearing cheap Capri pants and carrying a bag full of chicken fingers. Go figure.

Family reunions are a graphic reminder that God has a sense of humor. Eighteen years ago, when my husband and I were preparing to adopt a baby, a concerned friend said in a quiet voice, “Lisa, you guys should be careful. With adoption, you never know what kind of kid you’re gonna get.”

After a hearty laugh, I said, “Are you kidding? You should come to our family reunions. No place to go but up, Sister. No place to go but up.”   Of course, I wasn’t making fun of our wonderful extended families. I was making the point that none of us are as genetically superior as we might like to think. When we look at our wonderful teenage sons (both adopted as babies) we hold to our original declaration, “Adoption: smarter, better lookin’ kids.”

Every family I know has a wonderful conglomerate of personalities and physical characteristics and we should be proud of the rich diversity. There’s almost always at least one super-smart though socially awkward person. He or she tends to provide a monologue about the latest space discoveries or a detailed description of how fireworks are made. Then there are the fun though slightly irresponsible members of the family. They’re the ones who can tell a joke better than anyone but they forgot to bring food for the dinner and they may need a little gas money for the trip home. Thankfully, there are always the quiet and super-responsible folks who brought enough food for an army and put a few $10 bills in their pockets just in case someone’s tank was on empty.

No family would be complete without the “family informer.” This is the person who keeps up with the news about every person in the family, those present and those we haven’t seen for years. “Uncle George finally sold that bass boat and is planning to take a vacation to Arizona even though it’s godlessly hot out there.” “Cousin Louise is feeling under the weather…probably because she ate that questionable potato salad at the church picnic last Sunday.” “Aunt Tillie is feeling so poorly that she didn’t put out any squash or okra this year. She’ll likely be dead before Christmas.” No one is critical of the family informer. We have to believe her intentions are noble. If they’re not noble, well, bless her heart anyway.

Phil and I are blessed with precious extended families. We all have different political views, different occupations, different personalities and priorities.   And no, not all of us are connected by blood. We’re connected by something far greater. Love. Commitment. Understanding. A willingness to forgive. These are gifts from the hand of God. Gifts that are often delivered in a simple way by a simple group of people called…family.

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