Friday, July 14, 2006

Blest Be the Ties That Bind

Christopher has been at my parents' retirement home this week.

While Andrew's at Lakeshore, Jack and he have been enjoying the company of their "Meemaw and Granddaddy."

Kristy and I, thinking at one time of all the things we could focus on while the kids were gone - you know like each other, have discovered just how boring we are now in our middle age (well, she's not middle aged, I robbed the cradle). Turns out, we focused mostly on our respective jobs - too much to do before leaving for vacation next week.

You know how it is...you double and triple up on work before leaving only to find that when you return, that list of "to do's" are a bit further away.

But don't get me wrong. Kristy and I are quick to acknowledge that a few days without the persistent chants of "Hey Mom," and "Hey Dad," ain't too bad of a thing.

Anyway, back to Huntingdon. Christopher has been playing with Thomas this week. Thomas' Daddy and I have been friends since we were six years old.

Thomas' Dad, Kevin, is one of the best people I have ever known. Ever.

He's a P.K., like me, which is how we first found each other. Our parents are among the closest of friends, and they, having retired in the same community, will know the blessedness of friends who are neighbors in ways they have not known since the early 1970's.

I spent many a summer week with Kevin, his sisters and parents. In those days, it always seemed that Dad and Mom had to go to Lake Junaluska or Lakeshore in the heart of July.

It's the job of a preacher, don't ya know.

Invariably, that time occurred over my birthday. You gotta get me on the couch before I can fully deal with the impact of that on my psyche!

But Kevin's family was my family.

Across the decades - through far too many family celebrations and crises that I can count, I'm aware that Kevin's family is still my family.

I sang at his wedding, he stood up with me in mine.

Kevin's mom and my mom have "arranged" the marriage of his daughter and my oldest son. That used to be cute, but now that they're teenagers, it doesn't seem they dig it so much.

Kevin's family helped me at Mom and Dad's 50th anniversary party by serving cake and punch.

In the wee hours of an April morning, when my sister in-law called me with word that my brother had died in his sleep - aware that I had to call my parents and tell them - I was at once relieved and grateful that they were in Huntingdon for the night. When I couldn't raise them on the phone, I knew of only one other home to call - Kevin's mom and dad.

I knew what love was in that moment. From friends who are family. I don't think I'll ever be able to communicate the grace of that moment for me, personally, to have them be the ones to be the first to tell my parents something I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do.

The thought that our children might get along, might befriend each other apart from family history and baggage was interesting to ponder.

Kevin and I have not maintained regularity in our contact over the years, but the bond, at least from my perspective, has never been in doubt. It's a matter of quality, not quantity. But with the prospect that quantity might increase, hope rises.

Apparently, Christopher and Thomas are very similar in their demeanor. Each fancies himself a bit of a jock (not sure how much of that is real and how much is imagined, but that's not too different than their dads, except one of us really was a jock and the other just imagined he was - I'll leave it to guess who was who).

Throughout the week, I've received updates on how it's gone.

Evidently, pretty well.

Another generation into the family relationship -One more tie to bind.

That's an extraordinary gift.

1 comment:

Penny Comes said...

Someone just brought me the newsletter that contained this blog, and I thought it was so special. Your family means the world to me. I always refer to your parents as my "other parents", which makes you another brother. I'll always remember living with your family for about 3 or 4 weeks until I got married. I'll also always remember babysitting Jimmy, but not you because you were too old for a babysitter! All of my memories are fond ones. I can hardly wait until I move to Huntingdon, not only to spend more time with my "birth" family, but also time with my "other" family, too!

I love you all lots!!!!

Penny