I’ve mentioned it before that I have an Aunt Agnes that I think the world of….
Here she is at her 99th birthday. Next month we are gathering to celebrate birthday number 100. She is the nicest, most hard working, generous ladies I know.
When my mom passed away young…and her husband passed away young, my Aunt Agnes became much like a Grandma to my kids. She would come with my dad to our kids’ events. We loved it and the kids loved it. She became special to them too because she was active in their lives.
I got to thinking the other day how much I love and admire her…also thinking how special it was that she made an effort to be part of my kids’ lives. That’s when it hit me like a slap in the face. I am a great aunt. What am I doing to stay active in the lives of my great nieces and nephews? I want those special relationships in my life and if I don’t try to work to have them, how will I have them?
I actually have LOTS of great nieces and nephews. On my side of the family… I have 50-ish. On Hubby’s side, I think 18 great and 6 great-great. WOW. That’s a lot considering I am only 52. Hubby and I are the younger siblings so where my sister already has 20 grandchildren…we only have 2. In his family there are several great grandchildren that were born before we even had grandchildren….that’s what happens when there are several years between siblings.
Anyway…back to my wanting to a special great aunt and not just a regular great aunt…I decided that I need to be more present in their lives….so I went to a basketball game.
My niece Jody lives in Cedar Rapids which is an hour from here. I contacted her and asked “how far north does your team travel to play”. She said Independence. So I told her to let me know when the game was. So the Thursday before Christmas Kelli and I went down to see the game. Independence Iowa is about an hour from house…and about an hour for them to travel…not terrible at all.
I’m really close to Jody. She’s my niece but only 4 years younger than me-she’s more like a sister to me. Her daughter Stacey who was playing is #34. We see Stacey quite a bit. Jody comes to a lot of family get togethers and Stacey and sister Dawn(who doesn’t play basketball) come to them with Jody.
I love the relationship we have with her and am so happy to be part of her life. As you all know…with Stacey being a 9th grader, things get tricky at this age, where Aunts aren’t so cool so I’m hoping we can ride through this and stay connected.
When we got to the game my sister was there with her husband…and my other niece, Jody’s sister was there. I’m not as close to Johanna. I used to be but life and priorities have made us drift. This has always been a little sad for me. It turns out her daughter Bri plays on the same team. Bri, I don’t know very well….hardly at all. In fact, we were more or less introduced to each other….Ugh. I hate that I don’t know her. I wouldn’t have recognized her on the street. She would have no clue who I was.
It became apparent more than ever how easy it is for families to drift apart. Opportunities missed.
I got to thinking more about how extended our family has gotten. I have some great nephews and nieces that I’ve never met….I love having a big family but this part of it is hard.
Bri is the girl in red on the far right. Stacey the girl to far left in red.
The basketball game was awesome. The girls are both REALLY good players. I can see that it’s fun for my sister and husband to go the games and get an opportunity to see both of their grand daughters play at the same time. Marion, where they attend school, is known for it’s great girls basketball players. I’m sure these girls will grow with the team and be added to the list.
Going for me was fun…Fun to see the extended family…fun to hang with Kelli. It was also a big reinforcement for me that I need to present in people’s lives or opportunities can easily be missed. Our family is so big now that certainly I can’t be everywhere all the time….but sometimes, I need to go. I need to make an effort.
Jody had more kids…she asked if I’d like to go to show choir. That sounds fun….it’s something our little school never had. So I think I’ll be heading southward another day…not all opportunities are going to be missed and as an added bonus, I can stop in and hang out with our little Lucy.
Families are so hard sometimes…sadly, I can see some of this drifting already happening in my own family. Try as I might, I don’t see a way to stop it.