I miss most of the family reunions, the gatherings on my Dad's side of the family. I am clergy and work most Sundays and they are often on Sundays, or Saturdays too far away, or while I am on a youth trip or something. This year, however, it was on a good day and close enough. So we went.
It had been five years since I'd last seen my aunts and uncles and cousins. I don't remember what we talked about then. But this time I really wanted to see my cousins. I wanted to hear about their lives and see their children. I wanted to look for the family traits in those I am biologically related to, the things showing up as we age - like the white hair, the shape of our faces. I was glad to remember the stories of Grandpa Ivan and his bushy eyebrows, and the way he took us to the park when it was our turn to stay for a week.
I was especially delighted to be invited into a kayak with my older cousin for a little spin around the lake. It was an excuse to talk, but what a perfect setting - a warm day on the water as we moved about with only the strength of our arms, paddling one side and then the other, water dripping all over me as I switched sides
Maybe this is middle age. I'm not so invested in differentiating myself from everyone else, and am drawn to the ways we are connected. Are these balanced motions, like the movement in a kayak, pushing the water on one side and then the other?