In the Younubogue Family can I have the daughter please?
Oh, that’s me. And the sister? Me too. Wife? Mother? Aunt? Each card seems to bear a little picture of me. That must be because I play all these roles in this ever-increasing family. We all play multiple roles in fact. And as I watched from the edge of the circle at our Big Easter Family Gathering this weekend I saw that we were all in small clusters, clucking and chuckling with each other, all taking on the part of whoever we were supposed to be at that precise moment. Parents, grandparents, sisters, cousins, husbands, brothers-in-law, all quietly sitting, chatting, laughing, the babies being cradled and cuddled in the background.
No voices were raised, no tension was felt, no lectures were being given. I took a moment to just look and smile at what we have here.
We have a family who is happy to be together. Pleased at the prospect of the next event where we can all meet up again. Delighted to note a new date in our overflowing diaries. Comfortable enough to laugh at our fruit-stained t-shirts and ugly greying roots. So much at ease with each other that slippers are a must, and lengthy pyjama-clad breakfasts and casual generous lunches are the norm.
And silly enough to go to the little park at the end of the street and play on the swing, both big ones and little ones taking turns to ride and to push. Then fun enough to run along the road in front of the flock of dinosaur-clawed ostriches, daring them to chase us on their long spindly legs.
And the next day we started all over again. But this time around a different table, with just as hospitable hosts and the same genial atmosphere and chat. The digestive walk in the sun just as pleasant. All of us just as silly. My nephew wearing his baby’s little pink sun bonnet all the way, me with my Japanese tourist’s straw visor, the girls with daisy chains around their necks and wild flowers in their hair.
More photos were snapped – on the bridge, in the scented garden, jumping from a little grass mound in front of the castle, arms and legs splayed, sweaters flapping like wings behind us. Then to finish the stroll we improvised a quick, highly inappropriate, impromptu song in the 12th century blond stone church.
Do all families feel like this? Or are we just lucky?
Perhaps we are simply a very special bunch of individuals who, once together, become an even more special family unit.
I like to think so.
That’s nonsense. I know so!