I was listening to my Black 47 cd this afternoon at work, and one of the lines in one of the songs went, “You can always go home… you just can’t stay.” That sort of sums up my feelings about this last week. I went home. Home to Milwaukee for Grandpa’s funeral. I spoke and grieved with my family and my family friends. I even sang a song during the service, which, even though I felt like I totally blew it, really impressed a lot of people from what I hear. We drove, which was both fun and exhausting, however much, MUCH cheaper than even just one of us flying.
These last few days I have been reflecting on how lucky I am. My family is wonderful. And it’s so huge. I was introducing James to everyone, and hadn’t realized how many people there were in our clan until he found himself utterly confused as to who belonged to which parent/aunt/uncle/cousin. Because my family is so large, it makes it difficult to keep in touch with and be friends with all my cousins and their children, especially since I’m the one who’s far away. But it is also comforting to know that they all value our ties just as much as I do.
James said that sometimes he doesn’t know where he fits into my family or quite how to behave. I think this was a tough one just because of the situation, the grief. But as long as he knows that he is loved and can just be himself, he will fit in fine.
You want to know something kind of surprising–visiting home makes me want a big family of my own. Grandma and Grandpa had five kids. Those five had twelve. And so far those twelve have had nine-ish. And that’s not even counting step-children and the ones who are not “blood” but family nonetheless. It’s so great that so many people came from just a couple. I was thinking about trying to make a family tree or look back into my genealogy, but then I did the math for just this group of people who came from my maternal grandparents and thought that if I tried to find out about ALL my relatives, including those who preceded my grandparents, it would take a lifetime. And I don’t have that kind of patience. Maybe someday I will, but in the meantime, I’ve always said that I’m a poet because I don’t have the patience for prose. And that’s how I still feel. It would be interesting, though.