When it comes down to it, three and a half years is not a long time at all. That’s how long I’ve been a mom and while I don’t feel like a novice, I am definitely not an expert. I’ve had my fair share of blow outs and tantrums and spit ups and accidents but no matter how battle hardened I may feel some days, I am at the very beginning of this experience.
I more fully realized this this weekend at my mom’s family reunion. Watching all of her siblings come together for the first time in years, reminiscing and laughing, telling the old stories and sharing new pictures– it was truly moving. And funny and sad and introspective and all the things a family experiences in its many lifetimes and generations. And that’s what got me thinking about how far I have to go before I can call myself an expert, if such a thing even exists. But it also got me thinking about the past, how I am just one in a long line of mothers. At one point for my mom, family just meant her and her parents and her siblings. And then it meant my dad and her kids. Now, it includes in-laws and grandkids. In my comparatively short life, family has already taken so many different meanings and shapes and I’m sure there are still changes ahead. It makes you feel so small and big all at one time. Like everyone says Ella has my nose and Jack has my eyes but really, how far back do those features go? Whose faces had them first? How many families did it take to get to mine? At the reunion yesterday, it felt like the whole world shifted for this momentous occasion. Like it shifted back into its right place. It felt like my mom’s parents, long gone on the other side of eternity, were in the room with us, watching the slideshow of old pictures my uncle brought and hilariously narrated.
I guess all I’m trying to say is the family is important and you have to be careful because it’s easy to take for granted. It was a full day but there were empty chairs. And I know I say this all the time but it bears repeating: being a young mom is hard but it’s just such a short time of our lives. The same way childhood was short and don’t you wish sometimes that you had appreciated it more? I know I do, seeing how much fun my kids are having. I started out as my parents’ creation and now I’m on the other side, a creator of my own. You can’t go back, and you shouldn’t want to, but we’re lucky we get to have reunions and have these worlds can collide, even if just for one day.
And if I’m lucky enough, one day I’ll be able to look at pictures of myself from 50 years ago and laugh with my siblings about how we grew up. For now, I’ll take the luck I’ve been given and watch my own babies grow.
Happy Sunday, everybody.