I come from a broken family. By broken, I mean that my parents divorced when I was three and my sister Mel was one.
Before marrying my Mom, Dad had been married and had three children. Chris. Mark. Michelle.
After Dad and my Mom split up, he married again. They had four children together. Dayna. Lance. Chad. Courtney.
That makes nine children, for those who are counting.
The oldest three grew up in Ontario. Same country, yes, but it might as well have been across the pond. Family get togethers would have cost a small fortune.
There was a short stint in my teenage years where the three of them moved West. They moved to the small northern BC city where I was living with my Dad and stepmom. Mel was living with my Mom which was only two hours away. This made family events a more common occurrence. The oldest two got married, had babies.
The last photo we have of all of us all together happened in January 1990. This was before the youngest two had even arrived into the world.
(That’s me over on the right. Big bangs courtesy of Joico Ice Mist. Big blue glasses courtesy of the eighties. Dress courtesy of fugly.)
The three oldest moved back East. Divorces happened, I grew up and moved away from home. We spread out even further than we ever had.
None of us are very good at keeping in touch. We try, but we really do suck at it. When you are so far removed from each others’ daily lives, it is easy to get complacent and think that you will get in touch “soon”. Soon = never.
I think my history of brokenness is what drives me to work so hard on making my small immediate family unit so strong. I married someone who is going to fight as fiercely as I am to make this the best family as it can be. God is at the head of it. Love flows freely. Divorce is not an option. Ever.
This weekend marks a weekend of healing for my extended family. My Dad, father to nine really neat children, arranged to get us all together. I saw siblings I had not seen in twelve years. I met nieces and nephews I had never had the chance to hug and smother with kisses. I got to reminisce with my eldest brother about the time he tried to teach me to drive and I put the truck in the ditch. (The shoulder gave way! It wasn’t my fault!)
We ate amazing food, courtesy of Dad’s wife Gail who just slaved away in the kitchen all day. We laughed until our sides split and we even shed a tear. Or twenty. We also made sure to update our family photo.
I was hit with the realization that no matter how much time has passed and how horribly we keep in touch, it does not matter. We may span age groups, professions (and non-professions), belief systems and fashion styles. But inside each and every one of us runs a common thread. We share the same blood. The same DNA. We are family.
Thanks, Dad, for organizing the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. You done good.