Reflecting back over the past week I have so much to be thankful for. so many people who have been a part of my life journey not knowing their role, not even realizing their part in who and why I am who I am and do what I do now. So much of my past was validated this past week which brought the start of some closure about my childhood. No big bad secret lurking to come out, just so many why's... and was I the only one this happened to...am I solo in my feelings..
You see growing up as the oldest granddaughter of so many grandchildren, I can not even tell you how many I am the oldest of..I do know that if we all get together by law a permit must be pulled and the gathering is officially called an event..yes just blood related grandchildren born from two adults leaders: Grandpa Joe and Grandma Betty. Now, us grandchildren, have reproduced and/or adopted, many many of my relatives have adopted so we have grown to mass amounts of related humans. It all started with me being born to the oldest girl of twelve children, my mom Betty Jane. I am Mary Beth and boy did hearing that from every ones mouth bringing it's own flood of memories.. the first day many asked if I still go by Mary Beth, the sound was so sweet filling I went with hearing this beautiful, MY NAME and it felt so wonderful. Now my Uncle Bob, he has been that Uncle who a smile forms the minute your eyes meet and the minute our eyes met he gave me that wonderful Uncle Bob smile. He doubles as my God-Father; a part of our Catholic religion but more about his passion for life I follow his vision to reach for whatever you wish for. He is married to my Aunt Jan, she is the one who brought out the artistic side in me. She bought me many art supplies as a young girl and allowed me to create from within, praised anything I created. She captured a part of my curiosity to explore parts of me inside to allow the flow outward into life.... the two of them have three children all married with families. I had the honor of spending quality time with one who has opened the door for me to return with comfort to this huge sometimes overwhelming family. She somehow makes being away 20 years seem moments, she has three children who where shining moments of our trip, such aspirations. Her adult daughters AMAZING women, a son such a joy to be near and he says Mary Beth in such a way I wanted him to just say it over and over and over.... The other two siblings are equally as sweet which gives me so much warmth to be a part of. Rob, driven as is his entire family. I met his wife and spent time with his children..great personalities. Gail although the youngest in the family leads in building a family with number five on the way. She is beautiful, he face not moment aged from her sixth birthday.. her eyes glistened with her tummy filled with baby. The next in line of Aunts and Uncles would actually be my Mother second in line born after Uncle Bob in the siblings of twelve. We did get to spend time with my parents in the rural resort community..the funniest moment had to be seeing what appeared to be a fast evacuation plan in motion although I was quickly informed it was a "poker run" hundreds of gulf carts, 4 wheelers and such heading from one resort lot to the next with what appeared to be shots of mylanta plenty. LOL Very cool place to retire in nature. I just needed more city this trip, a plan to see as many people and remember as many past events in my life as possible. I did attend church in my home town church not to see my childhood priest who is now passed but the congregation. The fact that an old school/playmate sat in front of us and parents to childhood gal pals where in church made me smile from beginning to end.. I tried hard to remember the passage Father said in his sermon IT IS SOMETHING LIKE THIS... God never delivers to the accomplished... The accomplished is delivered the opportunity. I am not giving it justice I so much wanted to write it down and didn't.
The next in line I think..is my Aunt Jan who is married to my Uncle Ed. Their son passed away this past year where I followed the journey of his brain tumor through his wife's blog. She is an amazing writer which allowed me to be a part of the experience from a far. Brian (cousin who passed) wife Angie and I met and I spent time with her two boys. The boys were so cute, we went to cartville go carting. Both boys are adopted which for me makes it all the more special. They had no idea who I was, actually had asked if I was from the newspaper because I was taking photos. LOL The other cousins were not available during my trip to visit this time. Sean. uncle John and his wife Diane came with much surprise and pleasure. I have a spot in my heart for Uncle John who gave me some amazing get away summers as a teen. I would babysit his children; Jeff who was adopted then beautiful red headed Aimee the sparkle of Uncle John's eye... Their kids are all grown up, his first wife My Aunt Peggy now deceased and the kids grown into families of their own.. I did get to see Josh the youngest who is amazingly handsome. Aunt Jeanette, she is so warm and fuzzy, she is a rock. She has paved the path in inclusion of special needs children long before I had any idea what a child with special needs was or where that definition would fall in my life. Her husband nor son were available to visit as they were out of state. Aunt JoAnn and uncle Bob, an amazing couple showing grace as always. Aunt JoAnn is my God-Mother who always tapped into the girly side of my growing up. I was always a bigger girl and to make my girly side come out she had the right words in such a voice that you just want to "be like her" as an economic teacher I sure wish I would have taken more time to get to understand her talents... she has one daughter who was out of state although I really want to catch up with her next trip. Uncle Jerome and Aunt Meg. the model couple for me. They dated as being just a few years older I watched their high school friendship grow to a mature young adult then adult to marriage to children.. so much love they share. Great role models. Aunt Meg and I got time to sit and chat on the couch to allow her time to get a snippet of our life here in Florida. I didn't get much time with Uncle Jerome although their daughter's husband was a huge hit with Emma. He and Emma snuggles as he was the ONLY one she went to and took a firm liking to. She watched men a lot, but actually cuddling was reserved to a select few. As we move down the Uncle/Aunts it is bring those who I got to visit closer to my age. Uncle Sam and his wife Deb. Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam.... Not just a smile but a giggle comes when thinking of Sam.. he was a riot growing up. He took risks where no others did, not always healthy minded risks but as a young girl watching it was exciting to watch him, he now has a full family with adoption in their role as parents. Actually orphan adoption which has them more experienced than I for what is to come with raising children from orphanages. I am so very happy Uncle Sam (Jerry) and I got to see each other and he looks good. Aunt Julie and her husband Nick I got to see along with a childhood friend of Julie's who brought many musical memories rushing to the front of my mind. Sherry sitting on the couch next to Julie...the piano missing in memory of the two of them playing duo; some great fun memories. Those I missed this trip from the orig twelve are; Aunt Joyce and family overseas, Uncle Jim and family out of state, and Jill.... so hard to call and do not even recall calling her Aunt Jill except in poking at her. I am actually slightly older than my "Aunt" Jill who did drive up from St Louis with her wonderful daughter to visit me. I am sure only woman who have Aunts their same age can understand the significance in a relationship such as ours. I can not wait to get more time with Jill, it is in my heart and soul to be closer to her for the flow of emotion is so strong and solid when I am near her I can not put into words how important she has been in who I am today. SO that is my relatives from the one side of my family in a short tale of a book series of stories that take on mini movie reels in my mind just pulling thoughts of my past to the forefront. A wonderful life I have had with amazing people.
The next is my birth family; the five of us kids again I am the oldest girl... My only sibling older than I is my brother Joe, I can not begin to tell you how I looked up to him and yet would not allow him nor anyone to know I looked up to him. SO many skills he had I wished I did while growing up although my teen years pulled us a part to never re-connect. I got a conversation via phone with my big brother where his voice doesn't sound a day older than our last conversation but his heart seems broken. I pray for our connection to grow into a viable relationship in the future as he is strong and driven much like me. My next brother is Tim, I did get to spend a short amount but quality time with Tim.. it was easy to talk to Tim, he is just one of those guys (over 6 feet tall) you want to crawl up into his lap and tell all your problems and have him make them all go away.. He is earthy, we went for a long walk pushing baby strollers through a little town which is part of my past and now his home. The streets were vacant autos as we took to them to feel the birds and wind through town for a bite of ice cream talking about life. It was short yet wonderful. My sister Diane is out of state, time with her daughter as always was active and fun. We hit the carnival together although running into my niece Aimee and her beautiful family brought me to my knees. As I sat in my little town little park I see this little firecracker Blondie run and I knew in that split second it was my great niece Emily... I had been following her life story since she was born. Emily was born with Turner syndrome, I learned the strength my niece has from her growth as a human, a mom, a wife and a nurse in taking little Emily home as an infant with special needs and the way she embraced each hurdle as Emily"s advocate. I loved just watching them play at the park.
My son Kory. He rolled into town late one night from a trip to WI with my baby brother (whom I talked to but didn't see) I did get some quality time with Kory but time with your kids never seems to be enough.
My friends. I have so many friends back home, so many I can not even believe I missed seeing so many of them. I do need to make trips back to my home town more frequent. I thought I would have time to see everyone although time flew, once I had a day with relatives and more relatives it seemed the time to board for Florida was here. I have so many funny memories with so many friends... Peggy, and her daughter Melissa put us up and caught me for moments during the trip I needed a friend. The two of them are planning a trip to Florida which is what I would love all my friends and family to do.. to get to know each other it takes a minimum of four days and my family is not me and two children... so getting to know my family is important to me.
Class non reunion with my high school peers....... to be continued