Like we have for the past twenty years, we gathered at my aunt’s house on Sunday for a family birthday. The get-togethers have always had a standard flow. The women would roam between the living room and the kitchen, while the men watched whichever sporting event was on in the basement.
This time, I wasn’t looking forward to going. Recently, the dynamics have changed. My mother moved away to another state and within the last year, two aunts and my grandmother have passed away. My grown daughter was out of town. I feared the shortage of remaining women would cast a pall over the party, drawing attention to our losses.
What I hadn’t considered was the infusion of new life into our group. One cousin has a young son; another has two school age sons, two younger daughters and another child on the way. My own grandchildren, almost two and eight months old, were also there. The party was filled with exuberance and joy as the children chased around, enjoying each others’ company.
I was reminded that life goes on. My aunt had my grandmother’s picture on the mantle and we remembered each of the women who were missing that day. Meanwhile, the young ones in our midst merrily demanded our attention. Breakables were moved out of reach, we walked carefully to avoid crawlers, cleaned hands, noses and diapers, and one child was fished out of a sump pit. The day was lively and joy-filled!