I retired, then I had a post-pandemic sibling reunion as my husband and I traveled to Corolla, NC to celebrate our anniversary. The day after our return came the Turner Family Day in Memphis, wherein we stayed in a big rented house with all our children and grandchildren. What a way to start my new phase – being reminded that family is the best!
Family is watching the NBA Finals together and there never being any silence. People popping up and reenacting dribbles and shots. Shared exasperation. Glimpses toward each other as hands fly up in wonderment. Disagreeing. Agreeing. Cheering on the guy with the long name on his jersey.
Family is having sisters remind you to give things time. It’s a sibling reunion of sixty-somethings that last deep into the night. It’s eating at midnight, Mulla’s caramel pound cake now perfected over time by my brother.
Family is not wanting the good-byes to happen.
Family is listening to great-grandmother tell stories about her childhood and her parents and her grandmother. Taking notes. Finalizing charts. Name proud. Four generations in the room. A new one born this morning.
Of course, for us, family is playing games. My new daughter, who married my son, almost beat me in the card game Spit or Speed, whichever you call it - almost. It was intense. She could hang. Fun. And of course, in a day my other son and I completed a 750 piece Disney Lady Villains puzzle. The extensive conversation during construction, between he and his siblings, was about which villain was the most evil? Questions like, “Is it worst to kill puppies or abuse people?” came up. Cruella was just a capitalist, but The Evil Queen hired an assasin. The list ended up being, worst to not-so-worst: Snow White’s Evil Queen, Maleficent, Ursula, Cinderella’s stepmother, and then Cruella. Yep, that’s family - my family.
Family means bringing chairs from the other room to fill out the dining room table.
Family is traveling 2100 miles to celebrate your 40th wedding anniversary and family, and enjoying every minute of it.
Family is sharing your beginnings and knowing who you are. New births, aspirations, future plans. Rooting each other on. Asking each other the hard questions. Wishing all good things for your cousins, brothers, mom, dad, sisters, aunties, uncles, and grandbabies - everybody with your name.
Family is standing up for hugs every time somebody new comes in the room.
Family is watching 4th of July fireworks at Graceland, a few blocks from grandad’s home place. And eating dinner at the Elvis Pressley Grill inside the Guest House Hotel.
Family is rolling around in the floor with your nieces and nephews.
Watching the sunrise together.
Family is needing to rent Fuller State Park so that you all can see each other. Having the little ones blow up the balloons, throw the confetti on the tables, and then watch them thrash it all about. Breaking out the Neely’s BBQ and beans and making a balloon laden throne chair for Grandmother Leonia. Seeing true love in the eyes of the six auntie and uncle couples as they tell their stories. Oh, and family is watching all the Turners swoop down on the clean-up. People arguing over the broom – done in ten seconds flat!
Family is banana pudding lessons from the elders. Whip that meringue, don’t stir it. Bananas stirred in the custard? Last layer: cookies or bananas?
Family is seat-dancing and arm-pumping with your children at the movie, “In the Heights”. Let’s go!
Family means a carnival visit, a 32nd birthday party and Autobahn Speedway Racing.
Family is getting a goodbye sandwich hug with kisses all over from your sisters-in-love of forty years.
Family is fulfilling, overwhelming and understanding. Family sustains, manages and maintains. Family makes you. If it breaks, forgiveness heals. Families are fun. Families are work. Family is mine. Blessed!
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