My life pretty much revolves around my family…blood, church, or work. Regardless of which aspect I’m in, each one provides a foundation for that part of my life. Then it builds a stronger me, because the foundations intertwine making me who I am today. This post though I am going to be reminiscing and sharing my “blood” family. <love them more than they know>
My family is pretty large…growing up when we would get together with my Dad’s family there was easily fifty plus people there, and that was just immediate (brothers, sisters, their spouses and their kids). It has gotten to the point where we have separate family gatherings now because the respective family’s have gotten to large to all fit under one roof. My mom’s family is a more intimate affair, we had a total of maybe 15 tops if everyone was there and accounted for. Regardless it was all about getting together, eating, and playing with our cousins.
Through the years the number of both families has diminished due to death or family members moving away and not being available for family gatherings. I personally moved away for awhile, but the draw of “home” always brings you back to where the hub of the family is. My Grandpa March knew this, or maybe he couldn’t find his “hub” hence the reason he moved frequently throughout my dads childhood and then through mine. He did stay grounded for the majority of mine, living in a white house down the road from us. We would go there to play, experience chickens being beheaded, and watch as new chickens were born in the incubator. My Grandma Foster (my dads mom) lived just a few hills down in the opposite direction, there we would play in the old oak tree out back, or run amuck through their field and into Granny’s field that was connected. Or we would play dominoes or spoons. Between the two of them sat three of the kids and their kids. We would often end up at one or the others houses, riding bikes or playing in the woods.
The life at my mom’s parents, the McClintock’s, was totally different. They lived in a log cabin, ran a store from their home, made home crafted items, and my grandpa lived in buckskins and linen shirts. We would always explore Elephant Rocks, Johnson Shut-ins, or spend our time at a Fort that had a reenactment going on — getting to dress up in our period style clothing (from the Civil War Days) and run around learning history first hand. We would pile into a white box van, and be on our way. My grandpa looked like Abraham Lincoln, and I often ended up looking like Laura Ingels Wilder off the TV show Little House on the Prairie. Grandpa and Grandma created a t-pee for us, provided us with toys and other items that were made personally by them. Though when grandma would make my stuff, I would always have to see how my name was spelled…through my whole life she maybe got it right once.
Family is the foundation that we are built on. Sometimes there are squabbles and misunderstandings. Sometimes there are rifts or situations that happen that cannot be undone, but you still go forward. And you know that regardless they will be there.
The other day I was texting my uncle concerning a trucking job opportunity and the final text that came through was “10 4”. I smiled and warmth spread through my chest. That simple response brought back a flood of memories of my life growing up. We were in the lower middle class, my dad was a self employed contractor (still is for that matter) we didn’t have big flashy things and we sometimes had chicken and dumplings without the “chicken”. We knew when things were tight, BUT we never went without. My parents made it a point to take us on vacations out side of the Missouri. We drove everywhere, but we went. Our ride was our 69 Dodge Charger, with a CB installed. We would listen to truckers while we traveled, and often would get or share information with them along the ride…especially about Bears in the median. :) We have gotten away from having CB’s installed in our vehicles, but that is part of my foundation.
Recently we have been faced with the dreaded “C” word coming to our family. Didn’t even polity knock and ask for permission to join the gathering. Invaded our foundation and is shaking it to see what we are made of. It’s been here before, in small situations that were easily taken care of by a minor surgery. This time it has decided to come in a way that will make us take notice. Not that our family hasn’t dealt with crazy diseases before; two of us have MS, one lived their life with epilepsy, others have arthritis and heart disease. All diseases in their own right…but non have the ambiguity of cancer. It’s ugly and unknown.
I know that if we stand strong, keep our feet planted in the memories and continue to make more memories that strengthen and bind us together…then we will make it. We will have life and that more abundantly. We will be strong…we will be family…regardless of what happens or what we have to face.