Monday, 26 April 2021

Something about family

 I went with my mom this weekend to Port Elizabeth for a family gathering. My mom's cousin (Jeannie) was celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary.

As far as the family connection goes, my mom's father and her cousin's mother were siblings. My mom is 12 years younger than her cousin but she grew up in an environment where all the cousins (there were a number of them) grew up together in Zimbabwe, congregating for holidays and occasions at family farms. My mom was 9 when her cousin got married (and she was at their wedding 60-years ago).

I only really know of this side of the family from stories, like how they fit into the family tree. I met my mom's cousin Jeannie and her husband David in Cape Town about 10 years ago. They - and one or two of their children (my generation - but older than me) - came to the Cape Town FEAT event, which was really sweet. I stopped in to visit my mom's cousin at their picture framing shop on a visit to Cape Town some years ago. In recent years, I have been 'friends on Facebook' with some of this branch.

Saturday's celebration was absolutely charming. The lunch was held on the lawns of Jeannie's son's garden (second cousin in relation to me). It  was a family affair with Jeannie's children, their children and some of their great-grandchildren! And a couple of their friends were in attendance too.

The afternoon included talks by each of Jeannie's children (second cousins to me), the oldest grandchild (now 36) and their longest-standing friend who was best-man at their wedding. For me, it was special to listen to stories about Jeannie and David - of their life and their contribution and impact on their children and people around them.

We really don't know each other and yet I am one of them. Without hesitation. By virtue of my mom being Jeannie's first cousin, the connection follows through with Trudy, Dave and Ingrid, who I had the fortune to spend some time speaking to on Saturday. We're on the same generation level but they're older than me and younger than my mom.

Facebook too makes a big difference. Who they are and what they look like was no surprise. Where Facebook has its failings, in keeping family members connected, it plays a fine role.

I've never had much family around as they have been spread around the globe. But when we do see each other, a connection is there.

Friends are awesome, but there is something about family. I am very glad that I went through with my mom for this special celebration.

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