I'm getting ready for a family reunion! In two days my sister, Donna, will arrive from Texas! Another sister, Betty, lives in Texas and is coming up, and she'll probably be staying with her son who lives in the area. All my siblings will be here, and most of the younger generation. I'm so excited, and there's still a lot to do!
For years, my mom did all the get-togethers. That was back before she had Parkinson's Disease, and there weren't so many of us. I have 5 other siblings, from my parents' two marriages (Dad was married once before he married my mom). All of us have assimilated into family, even though we didn't live together as kids. Even so, Mom always hosted the holiday gatherings, and later, it fell to me to get us all under one roof.
At first, and for a couple of years, even, when Ray came out, I didn't feel like having all the family in. The "news" hadn't been shared with them, and I wasn't up to a big crowd. Then, gradually, as I talked to some (and I'm sure they all discussed "it" with each other) I felt like they all knew how I was receiving it, and they didn't get bent out of shape if I mentioned Ray. My need for family was outweighing the worry about how they were all reacting. Last year I decided that if we all were to get together, I better call for a reunion! After all, Dad is 88, and his legacy is in this group of "rabble-rousers," and I wanted us to get together. So, instead of calling it a reunion, I named it the BRAMMER GET-TOGETHER.
It's an odd thing, family. Some of us feel connected, some don't. Some parts of the family get with each other more than others, and there are still others who will get acquainted this Sunday, hardly knowing each other. There can be hurt feelings, but there are also feelings of being close, related. There are memories that come from Mom, "Grandma" or my nephew, Jeff, who was killed last September in a tragic semi accident. None of us realized that last year's get-together would be our last time with him. I think it is one reason that some are making the extra effort to be here this year.
Basically, the Brammers are a Christian family, and it was quite a different outcome when they learned, a few years ago, that I was separated. Not that there hadn't been divorce in the family, but I was the one with the successful, Christian-singer husband, and we'd been involved in missions, went to church ALL the time, and our kids participated in church youth group with a lot of dedication. I'm sure there are plenty of them who still can't figure out what happened - and most of them haven't chosen to discuss it with me. (I am glad to sit down to talk, or to share resources that helped me).
This year there are spouses, kids, step-kids, grandkids and great-grandbabies, about 57, I think, plus the extras. In describing the "event" on facebook, I invited every Brammer, been-a-Brammer, related-to-a-Brammer, know-a-Brammer, or Brammer-wannabe! I'm sure that some won't be here, but we're sure to have a crowd!
I'm so distant from the hiding that happened when my husband had just come out. I love my family, and whether or not they agree with me, we are family. Nothing changes how I feel for them, and I'm so glad they are coming!