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It describes our history … where we are from … why we are how we are … what “features” we have.

It defines us today … those whom we’ve chosen to live with … grow with … start our own family with.

And it brings us pause when we think about the future … who will be with us … for how long … and how our own world will look as the years ahead turn into our reality.


And no matter how old we are … we all have stories to tell about our families. Some good stories. Some sad ones. Others that make us laugh out loud. And some that we really want to forget.  Family is sort of a universal topic because we all have one or two … and if you’re lucky, you’ll have family under various definitions of the word.

But there is no denying it … family is family, period. And sometimes, it is up to us to make those relationships what we want them to be.

Twice this month I got to spend some time with my family and my extended family: Aunts. Uncles. Cousins. Second cousins. Old. Young. … Sometimes the conversation was easy.  Other times you had to work at it. Sometimes the topic was deep and introspective. Other times it was surface level, like you just ran into an acquaintance at the grocery store.  But you know, I think that is OK. Family is like a kaleidoscope, or sometimes, maybe like the Northern Lights. Always changing. Beautiful.

So hard to capture but managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So hard to capture, but I managed to get this shot of our magical Northern Lights. So glad we all decided to look up last night!

So for just a moment, I’m going to talk about my family. Because I’m so proud of them. So glad I have them … So happy I get to call them my own.

I think what I like most is that my family is interested in my life. I don’t live close so I miss the chance to meet up for the little things and experience some of the big things … Hold little babies in your own arms … watch them grow into toddlers … and then into little human beings … Watch romances begin … turn into wedding bliss … and sometimes, be there when life doesn’t turn out as planned.

I remember having family reunions when I was little.  My parents were younger than I am today when they started.  But some of them stopped … or there was a longer break between them … or you were left in charge of organizing the next one and you didn’t get around to it (one of my life’s regrets).  But if I hadn’t had those early year experiences, I’m not sure I would be so keen to go to one nowadays.

But two weeks ago I went to a reunion on my mom’s side, which is held every two years. Sadly, I haven’t attended one previously. I’m not even sure when they started! But I know I haven’t attended one since moving away 16 years ago. Usually I’m the person that says I will drive for endless hours or across endless miles to see someone that is important to me .. but I missed these in the past. And after joining this one, you can bet I’ll have the future ones on my calendar for the years ahead.

And this past weekend we held our third annual “We Meet” family reunion on my dad’s side. It started just three years ago after we lost my aunt suddenly and both of my grandparents within one year.  All of grandparents lived LONG and healthy lives and I can only hope I have their genes! But they were here on this earth and with us for a long, long time and they taught us all so much that when we gather together, we can’t help but tell story after story about them. And you realize just how much their wisdom and their traditions have shaped all of our lives and how, now, the responsibility is on us.

So now WE are the ones that must take the torch and carry on with the family reunion tradition. To organize, and attend, and bring together the families. So cousins can get to know each other … gain invaluable memories that will no doubt, include a simpler time, … so we all remember how important it is to take a moment to listen, laugh and learn about what is happening in the lives of our important family members. …. The good news. The sad news. The laugh out loud stories from the past. The smiles when we first see each other. And the precious hugs we give to each family member until the next time {we meet}.

These weekends are not always convenient.  They are inevitably with conflicting calendars and invitations elsewhere … especially in today’s crazy busy world. They are also time consuming. A five-hour drive each way for most families  … and over eight hours for another family.  But, no one complains because we are all there because we choose to be. And that in-and-of-itself, is amazing. Because when you think about all of the pressures we have — you realize that everyone showed up was because it was their choice. And for that – I know how lucky I am and how special my family is.


Little cousin M. Sitting around the campfire that just the evening before, had everyone laughing and sharing stories. With a tear in her precious little eye and I know a hole in her heart, she didn’t want the weekend to end. And neither did I. Until next time I see you little miss M. 

So until next year.

Will the same people come? Will more? I can’t wait to see the kids one year older! I can’t wait to catch up with some family members that I really just got to know this summer. I can’t wait to spend five hours in the car with my mom, dad and sister … really.  I can’t wait to hear about what everyone has been up to. To laugh together. To cry if needed. And to give everyone a big smile and say – hey there family, I’ve missed you .. how are you?  And to embrace each and every one of them as we say our good-byes with the best hug I can give, until {we meet} again.