Monday, August 22, 2011

Weaving Threads

I have something I want to share with you.
Unless you are a relative of mine or you have some 
other connection to my family,
I know this won't mean nearly as much to you as it does to me,
but I feel the need to convey to you the importance of family treasures.
It seems I'm feeling quite sentimental here the last few days.
A very dear cousin recently sent me a video of a 
family get-together that took place in 1960, 
five years before my birth.  
I have to tell you.
I bawled like a baby.

It opens with my Daddy, smiling and enjoying his birthday celebration
with all the folks he held most dear.
There are many aunts and uncles, most of them gone now.
Aunt Mayme fussing at Uncle Bob to get the camera away from her
and Aunt Matt running from him.  : )
The almost-five-year-old version of my brother (he was 10 when I was born)
sitting with an ultra thin, oh-so-young version of my Mom.
Lots of cousins dancing and acting silly.

It was a pivotal moment for me, seeing these people in this way.
One of those uncles I don't recall ever meeting.
I'm sure I did as a very young child, perhaps even a toddler.
He and his family moved away and then he died rather unexpectedly
when I was still young.
Until watching this video, he had been merely a handsome face
in a handful of still photos stored in a cardboard box at my Mom's house.
But this video, this treasure, allowed me to see him 
really LIVING.
Laughing, joking with his siblings, having fun.
And most importantly to me, there was my Daddy.
Alive again, looking young and vibrant and happy.
The same with all those aunts and uncles 
who are no longer with us.

It broke my heart...
but in a very good way.

I miss these folks and I wish they were still here.
I wish I could have realized at a much younger age
what a gift it is to have a large and loving extended family.
I wish I had spent more time in their company,
listened more intently to their stories,
paid a little more attention.
It's just a few threads in the fabric of my life.
A snippet of time that I'm sure my Uncle Bob (the man with the camera)
never imagined would mean so much more than 50 years down the road.
But what an impact it has had on me.

I hope that when you watch this
it will make you stop and think.
The next time you have a chance to spend a few minutes
with an aunt or uncle or grandparent...
Enjoy it.
Savor it.
The older I get, the more important
those fond memories become.
When loved ones pass on,
those memories sustain you.
Those little threads we weave create a warm cocoon
which will warm our hearts even in the coldest of winters.