In replying to a comment Nan left on my last post I shared a little about the closeness of my side of the family. Let me very clear about this point, my side of the family. Both of my parents are still alive and kicking (and complaining). Our family has a “standing” and somewhat mandatory gathering on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. When the kids were younger we probably saw everyone at least every other month, or at a minimum once a quarter. There was even a time, long, long ago that my parents actually drove to my house occasionally. They don’t feel the need to do that any longer. But all in all we are pretty tight group primarily because of and centered around one person, the Queen, the Sun, my Mother.
I had similar relationships growing-up on both my Mother and Father’s side of the family. Each side had a Queen, my Grandmothers, and my Mother was the daughter, and the daughter in-law. My Mother’s power and status, outside of her immediate family was that of Princess and she served at the pleasure of her Queens.
I grew-up close to my cousins on both sides of my family and we had regular gatherings not just for the major holidays but for birthdays, Sunday dinners, and just because the Queens had called a meeting. On my Father’s side there were 9 cousins plus the 3 of us and on my Mother’s side 3 cousins plus 3 half-uncles the same age as we are. Gatherings were loud, sometimes feelings were hurt and occasionally a fist was thrown that rarely landed where it was intended.
These gatherings lasted well into my early twenties but happened less frequently, eventually ending when the Queens passed away. What happened next has always fascinated me, all of those Princesses, the daughter and daughter in-laws become Queens of their own families. And my cousins, kids that I had grown-up with and saw frequently, some of them I haven’t seen or even communicated with in almost 40 years. The glue that bonded us together, the person that fried those Chickens and made those Coconut Cakes was the Queen just as it is today except now my Mother is the Queen, just as my Aunts are now the Queens of their families, people I now only see at funerals.
So this weekend, as I gathered with all of family now numbering 16 at my nieces wedding I watched the 77 year old Queen and her court of three Princesses, daughters, and daughter in-law direct traffic, telling us where we need to be, what to do and asking “How many beers have you had?”. I realized watching this show that all of these Princesses were now just Queens in training, learning the delicacies of reigning over a larger family that will grow with spouses and grandchildren of their own. Their time as Queen will come, hopefully many, many years from now, but it will come.
When that time comes will the three new Queendoms that will be created interact with the other Queendoms? Will the family splinter as I watched happen with the deaths of my Grandmothers? Or will the power of the current Queen still reign spiritually over us guilting us to at least call your sister every once in a while?
I told my Mom once, the current Queen, that I will probably never talk to or see my sisters and their families after she dies. Her response; “Then I will haunt you from the grave for the rest of your life!” Honestly I believe she would. Long live the Queen!
“In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.” – Lao Tzu