Family Union

I’m trying to find the words inside to express some of the sensations I’ve been living with for the past several weeks.

Around a month ago, Heather & I decided to attend the up-and-coming Bennett Family Reunion. My older brother Nick and his girlfriend will come too. Then I offered to bring my mother on the trip. Then we expanded to invite Heather’s mum & sis too! Suddenly, we’ve got a gaggle of seven descending on LAX this next Wednesday. But wait a second… Back to that word, “Reunion”… I have to admit that title is a bit of a misnomer. Sure we’re part of the Bennett Family tree, but the “Reunion” term suggests that it’s a re-gathering of folks in my blood line. That’s not the case here.

22 years ago, my father died. In another two days, I will have the chance to meet most of the Bennett Clan, and have the chance to make connections that hitherto had been buried by distance and simple lack of follow through. I am beyond grateful that I will have the chance to meet these folks, but somehow I am lost in wonder about what it means to have family. I am suddenly more than doubling my blood relations. I guess they had always been there, but without some type of awareness, I’ve lived my 30 years as though they have simply not existed.

Maybe it’s the same for everyone who will be in attendance; maybe they’ll wonder about the new kids at the table, or maybe it won’t matter at all. I still have questions. Will we look like other folks around the table? Are there specific traits that will stand out? Will there be others in the crowd that have red hair like my father and I?

For my brother and I, we’re going from knowing _of_ our father and a couple of his siblings to meeting and placing nearly two-dozen names and faces. It will undoubtedly be a wild ride. I’m thinking even more so than the fact that this is also our first experience to the Disneyland Park.

I’ve tried to piece together the family tree in the simplest forms with the first names and some brief descriptions from my Uncle Jim who is (from what I can gather) the catalyst for the reunion. With such an onslaught of new names and faces it was interesting to try to comprehend how our family is structured. For instance: Seth is the son of Annie who is the daughter of Sid who was the brother of Jim who is the brother of Michael who is my dad. You try keeping it all straight. That’s only three (living) relatives in that branch. Oh, and according to Ancestry.com, my tree is still largely incomplete without full names, dates of birth and other solicited tidbits… I suppose taking photos will be part of my M.O., but what other kinds of documentations will be prudent to initiate? Fortunately, I think there are others like Annie who will be able to piece together that puzzle for me, yet how do I keep from having my brain burst with all of the new input?

I’m looking forward to it, but for someone who likes to know what lies ahead, this is nearly at the antithesis of comprehension. Disneyland & Family. Both things I’ve never experienced packed into a ____ (*insert adjective here*) week.

Stay tuned for future musings. I’m sure this’ll be a doosey for me!

-cb

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2 Responses to Family Union

  1. macey says:

    I love family reunions. And even though my parents are pretty good about keeping in touch with their extended families, combined they have over 100 first cousins, not all still living. I have a huge family that is never entirely together no matter how hard we all try, but there is so much affection and love and something else you get only from being together. And don’t worry too much about keeping the family tree organized, because the only part that matters is that there is a connection.

  2. Heather Swanson says:

    Leave it to you to just jump right in – no taking it slowly, meeting one or two folks at a time… lol

    But, Macy’s right – as someone who is also from an extremely large family – keeping it completely organized doesn’t matter (although I do realize that’s part of who you and Heather are!) – what matters is what goes forward. YOu will have a blast, make new connections – some folks you’ll have lots in common with, some not so much. Enjoy the new experiences!!

    Miss ya both lots!

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