If we're lucky, being around them can take us back to times and events in our lives that abide revisiting, regardless of whether those times were as disconcerting as being stuck on a Ferris wheel together or as trivial as making potions from bathroom cabinet ingredients or as stupid as things caused by double-dog-dares.
"When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman," Jack Handey once wrote. "After school we'd all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn't until later that I found out Uncle Caveman was a bear."
(Jack Handey isn't kin, but he'd fit in with us well.)
These relatives I hung out with last weekend -- they're my people. They belong to me in a way I'm only now starting to appreciate. In them, I not only remember the past, but get to peek into the future. We share the same people. Miss the same people.
If our Papap hadn't been able to convince the cute, yoyo-slinging redhead to go out with him all those years ago, none of us would exist.
The group of us hanging out last weekend were so diverse that, had life not forced the acquaintance, I doubt we'd ever have met. That's the cool thing about families. You don't have much say in what you get, and you have to be smart to recognize the value, especially if some have beliefs that vary from yours. Family members provide opportunities to open your eyes to things you might not otherwise get to see.
I saw much this past weekend. Learned much.
And I want even more.
There's a quote by George Bernard Shaw that nicely sums up what I'm coming to see as our theme:
"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
Reach Karin Fuller at karinful...@gmail.com.