This I Believe

Lin - Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Entered on September 22, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: family

Love Your Family Today

Every time I search the bottom of my purse for an elusive lip gloss, I find my buckeye. At my family’s last festive reunion for my nephew’s wedding in Chicago in 2004, my brother pointed out the buckeye trees lining his street. I looked around and picked one up as a remembrance of the occasion. As native Buckeyes, raised in Ohio, we considered it a lucky totem to carry the brown marble-sized seed, useless to all except a hungry squirrel in winter.

Whenever I grab the buckeye, my mind captures the week of the wedding. Although spiritually close, geographically my family was spread around the globe. Family and friends trickled in from everywhere, from all phases of my life. How wonderful to see each other again. Living so far apart makes a get-together significant.

At the reception, as the champagne flowed, so did the love and chatter. I was seated at a table of eight, and after catching up with them, an unspoken game of musical chairs began, I’m certain I sat at every table before the night ended. I collected a purse full of updated email addresses and promises to write. The unity I felt with family reminded me to make an effort to maintain closer contact.

Polkas and laughter could be heard into the next ballroom. The room exuded a togetherness that night I wish I could have bottled up and brought home. They had to cut off the polkas and send us away when the hall time expired.

I knew in my heart as I updated my ever-changing address book of family gypsies, that these promises to keep in touch were made with great intentions. Once home in our worlds the suspended moments in time spent with family would be merely memory. Photos were promptly emailed with joyful comments. Then the correspondence slacked off. I barely had time for my daily commitments. Catch up with cousin Anne or make birthday cards for the twins? They’d be lucky if they received Christmas greetings.

I reach in my bag for my coin purse but find that buckeye. I hope my family is well today. I am trying to remember to actively remember my family by performing an act of kindness, be it a hello email, an unexpected thank you, or a call to a family member, every day. Whether families live together or thousands of miles apart, I feel the need to focus on this love. Priorities are easily confused by the pressures of today’s society, and money and work are placed before family. I have to strive to overcome this pressure.

. The wedding was the last time most of my family ever saw my husband Jim. Our next reunion was in February 2006 at Jim’s funeral. At that gathering, I saw people exchanging emails, phone numbers, and heard promises being made. The cycle goes on, so I’d like to take this opportunity to tell my entire family how much I love them today.