Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Care, Love, Family

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." Anthony Brandt
We had a wonderful family reunion on Memorial Day. It began last February when Lorrie and I talked about the possibilities of surprising her Dad for his 70th birthday. For a time it didn't look like it was going to happen, then everything came together for a day at which only five of us weren't present.
Pictured above cutting their cakes are the May birthday celebrants: My brother, Ron Lynam (May 7), my nephew-in-law, Dale Heidebrecht (May 18), my sister-in-law, Susan Lynam (May 29), my daughter, Kari Fleming (May 31) and my daughter-in-law, Shelly Botkin (June 1). Not present was my grandson, Brock (Botkin) Fox (May 23).
I understand why family was even more important to my Grandma Ridnour and my Mom as they aged - we never know when we are all together if it is going to be the last time. This was the first time in many years we have (almost) all been together. For many it was the first time they met the newest family members.
To say that I LOVE my family is to state the obvious. Love - "A sense of strong affection and attachment." Sometimes I think we all overuse the word love - "I love that song, car, ice cream, movie, book, etc., etc.
Perhaps some of the definitions for CARE more closely describe my familial feelings - "active concern, liking, fondness, attention to"; yes, sometimes even 'worry'.
As families grow in members and distance, it becomes more difficult to know everyone well enough to decide if we care about them. By extension - because they 'belong' to one of our loved one's family, we may 'love' them, too. But to really 'care' about them, we have to get to know them. To know them we have to spend time with them.

These little boys are Ron's grandsons: clockwise beginning with the tallest in the blue shirt: Nicholas Lynam, Erick, Aiden and Carston Yoakum. (They were putting potato chips in my fountain and watching them go into the pool - racing to see which one's chip went first.) Because they are my great-nephews, I love them. Because I have been lucky to spend some time with them and get to know them a little bit - I care about them.
I hope they enjoyed our family reunion as much as did I. "Family faces are magic mirrors looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future." Gail Lumet Buckley

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