Since both of my parents are gone, last weekend we decided to get together at my mom and dad's house before we sell it and celebrate the family's June birthdays and and the fathers in our lives - both living and dead. My sister (who is still living at the house) however, ended up with a nasty case of MRSA (staff infection on steroids) and we couldn't do it there.
Some of the family wanted to just bypass the occasion and look to another weekend while others wanted to hold onto familial togetherness - me included. If we didn't fight to keep our small family circle together, who would?
But where to gather?
Mom and dad's pace had always been the gathering place. The rest of our homes were just a bit too small for the whole crew.
I looked around at mine and was overwhelmed. My mother's funeral and recent surgery had left me so far behind, the dust bunnies under the front entryway table had had enough time to colonize and I was confident that they were on their fourth generation! After thinking about what was really important though, I put my pride aside and told everyone, "It's not perfect but at least we can be together here."
They came, and one of the first things that happened is that the cake of dust on my living room table captured the interest of my young nephews. I was turning purple with embarrassment as they started drawing and writing their names in the dust but my embarrassment quickly dissipated when I saw how their eyes sparkled as they used their little fingers to make their imprints on the world.
My brother came in and chastised his son for his rudeness. Since it was my home, I figured I could overrule him and told the children to draw whatever they pleased. "Ashes to Ashes and dust to dust, Play as you please - sometimes fun is a must!" I said.
My brother laughed and the children continued in their wonder as they decorated my table with their artwork. We laughed and enjoyed being together as a family the rest of the night and I learned another valuable lesson as I woke up the next morning to clean up and looked at their temporary hieroglyphics,......
"Building family bridges is not about perfection. Sometimes it is just about gathering and finding flaws to laugh about."
I haven't dusted that table since.