I just got back from a family reunion of sorts. My one cousin and his wife drove in from out-of-state for a visit. While my other cousin who resides an ocean away in another country is also visiting for the summer, unbeknownst to me. I know what you are probably thinking right now of all the things for her to write about a family dinner, really? But just bear with me.
My family is big, loud, crazy, and altogether hysterically ridiculous. We tell funny stories, bad jokes, and each others most embarrassing moments. We drive each other crazy, love from a distance, and hold our matriarch in highest regard. We are mismatched, ridiculously stubborn, charm laden (some more than others), individuals with strong personalities. We are separate, distinct entities, that are united together by a simple and yet fragile bond. A bond that took generations and perfect timing to create. Tonight my big hungarian family was in full force; laughter, food, and endless amounts of chatter. That has been and will always be the atmosphere of our family.
As I sat at the table I took some time to truly observe the moment. I watched as my grandmother held and interacted with her great-grandson both of them all smiles. Then there were my two aunts sitting across from me, sisters now in their fifties still whispering secret conversations to each other. Across the way this sister bond was being mirrored by my two cousins one in her twenties the other just beginning thirty, alone on a bench they shared their own moments of life, love, reality, and who knows what else. The rest of the family was in their own little circles conversing upon both past and present.
While taking in this view it suddenly hit me that most often misquoted proverb that “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” That was the truth of the moment that it wasn’t our bloodline that kept us there united as a family but instead the covenant that each one of us made to be family. We could easily all go our own ways without every interacting with each other ever again. However, our love and commitment (no matter how irritatingly frustrating we each can be) to each other is the substance which binds us – not the bloodline. We see this reality every time a new member is added through marriage. We also see it when members who once shared that binding walk away. There will always be a place for them amongst us and we will always welcome them back but it is their decision and not ours to make. We feel the loss for every member which is missing either by death or dissociation. But that is the burden of family it is the cost of committed love.
Family it can be wonderful, irritating, frustrating, strengthening, and ridiculous. In the end, however, it is the best decision you can ever make. Because even on the worst of days in the back of your mind you know that you are loved and with that truth you can always face another day.
So to my big hungarian family I love you and I always will.