ON T'COBBLES - an occasional blog
“When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching –
they are your family.” – Jim Butcher
Last weekend, 8 members of my family had a long awaited get-together at Wordsmith Towers. Siblings, cousins and Aunties came from as near as Morley and as far away as Kingston, Canada – a distance of 3294 miles! We took advantage of the unexpected warm weather and sat outside all afternoon and into the evening, sharing jokes, memories and (sometimes) embarrassing stories and laughing long and loud. So loud in fact that our next door neighbour remarked on what a good time we were obviously having.
The odd thing about this was, unlike most raucous parties, there was no music and very little alcohol. Most people were driving back in the evening so tea, coffee and soft drinks were the norm; but the main reason was that we were just so pleased to see each other anyway that we didn’t feel the need to drink.
As I write, I’m aware that I’m very lucky to have the sort of relationship with my family that makes such happy occasions possible. But, as I hope the quote at the top makes clear, we don’t have to share DNA to be family. It’s not about the time we’ve been in each others’ lives either, some of the people I am closest to and feel most comfortable with have only been in my life for a comparatively short time.
The thing is, as I looked around our little gathering, I realised that some of us have been divided by more than just distance over the years. Inevitably, there have been angry words, misunderstandings and even feuds. But always, one or other of us have decided to swallow their pride and either apologise or explain. If this hadn’t been the case, there would have been a few empty chairs last Saturday.
So as the weather gets warmer, why not offer the olive branch to someone you’ve not seen for a while? Call them, send them a text or email, or maybe inbox them on Facebook and invite them round for a barbie – what’s the worst that can happen?