It’s a Family Affair


The Conversation, pg xv, 10

“Our families and extended families kept us connected to one another and kept us connected to a deeper part of ourselves.”

“My grandparents anchored our family.  They reminded us of who we were, where we came from, and showed us where we might go.”

 In 2003, my cousin got married to a guy she’d dated for ten years (since her sophomore year of college).  The only reason that I mention this is because I REALLY realized at her wedding how important my grandmother, the matriarch of our family, is to me.  As my grandmother walked down the aisle, I had a revelation.  It would be okay if I didn’t have a wedding because what I really wanted was for my family to have the opportunity to meet and love my future mate, most especially my grandmother.  In 2010, my grandmother will turn 93 years old.  93!  She’s outlived her husband, her two youngest brothers and her two eldest sons and she’s the “glue” that binds our family.  When I haven’t seen my male cousins in a while, I call or text them and say something like “you know your grandmother is getting older and you need to show your face around here at Thanksgiving or Christmas.”  This isn’t to say that they don’t know these things, but sometimes the men in my family allow work and their current piece of tail (no offense ladies) to overshadow things like a call or visit to our grandmother (who, by the way, will comment to me because she knows I’ll make it happen! lol).

Anyhow, I remember telling my grandmother at the wedding that she needed to hang around at least another 10 years to make sure she’s here when I finally get married and her saying “chile please, I’ll probably be dead by then.”  Immediately, I began to cry (which didn’t surprise my cousins who found it hilarious when I told retold this conversation to them later).  It’s not that I don’t know that the likelihood of my grandmother living until she’s 95 is slim; it’s the fact that I know so much of our family bond has deteriorated with every passing year and every passing soul.  Why does this matter?  How is it relevant for this post?

Well, my family is so important to me and knowing my family and our family traditions explains me; it also provides men I date a window into what I expect our lives together might look like and allows me to gauge how well others mesh into this construct.  If you know my grandmother, then you understand that she’s a former social worker whose door was always open; that she lived during the Depression, Civil Rights and Women’s Rights and dern near every major movement in the last century – she really understands what it means to put family and others first and to be compassionate and to love.  Thus, you know why I always extend myself to help others achieve their dreams or find answers to problems.  In knowing us both, you understand why I’ll always let friends in need crash at my place (even when that friend is a guy and it may be uncomfortable to a guy I’m currently dating).  When people/men meet my grandmother, they understand my spirit.   My mother, on the other hand, is fiercely independent.  She is sandwiched between two brothers.  She’s a bit of a tomboy and spent many years at the knee or on the side of my grandfather.  My mother is the type to cook a great meal, do home repairs and then go outside and cut the grass or clean off the roof.  When people/men meet my mother, they understand my sense of humor and my spunk.  Who do you get certain parts of your personality from? What family values matter to you?  What family members matter most and embody that?  How important is it that the man/woman you date have similar family values?  Please share your thoughts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: