Just before Christmas 2010, I saw a status update on Facebook... my cousin's status had changed to "in a relationship".
This was news to me, and I thought about "liking" or making a comment. But that hardly seemed appropriate.
My cousins and I were very close growing up, three sisters and one brother, their spouses and nine cousins living barely blocks apart in North Toronto (another brother, his wife and three children lived a few miles to the south). I have many fond memories of picnics, of days and evenings spent at their home or at my parents home, special occasions shared, moments that make up a life... My uncle played tennis, squash and table tennis with me when I was a teenager, and I always felt a closeness to both my aunt and my uncle and Jackie. Gail, their older daughter was a half generation older than me, and though family, I do not have the memories with her that I had playing with Jackie (who could easily be described as a "tom-boy" in her youth). Gail has been happily married for years and has three lovely children, all of whom are married now.
After my grandmother died, gradually our families seemed to drift apart, moving in different directions, wrapped up in our own trials and tribulations...
I would see my aunt and uncle on occasion, and when we did meet, it was as if we our closeness had never wavered. But the occassions were fewer and further apart. They now have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Auntie Cynthia was now the Matriarch of her family. I guess it is the circle of life...
Years ago, Jackie, decided to make a dramatic change in her life and accepted a position as a teacher in Central Ontario. She bought a home, made new friends and life moved on.
Though Jackie and I had become Facebook friends a year or two earlier, it had been many years since we had actually seen eachother. We had even holidayed near her several times, and still not managed to get together...
I picked up the phone and phoned her. Emotions and memories flooded back as she told me that she had met a man, fallen in love and was getting married. I was overjoyed for her. It was eerie the many similar twists and turns our lives had taken. The closeness that was always there, but perhaps had been buried of late, rose to the surface. We talked for hours.
She told me they were planning a very intimate wedding at her home on January 1st, 2011 and asked if Helen and I would come. Without hesitation, I said, of course I would.
We offered to drive her parents, one of my favorite aunts and uncles and spent several hours recounting old memories on the way there. I did not know anyone but the bride and her parents, but was at once at home and comfortable with them. Frank, her husband, and his children are very warm and loving people. Jackie's friends took care of everything and the wedding and reception was wonderful.
When I remember weddings I have been to, it is not the pomp and circumstance that I remember, not the trappings nor the food... it is the love and emotion, it is the friendship and fellowship that stays with me.
I do not have a sister, and have tended to be protective of my cousins. I want the best for them, and with Frank, Jackie's husband, Jackie now has that.
And my Aunt and Uncle now have that inner peace knowing that their children have found partners who love and adore them.
I did not take many pictures that day, but this one was and is special to me...
Do you want to know what I see?
I see my uncle, circa 1976, fresh off spanking me in tennis yet again, I see my aunt and grandmother cooking us a lunch, and my teenage cousin, a tomboy growing up into such a beautiful woman. And I see LOVE. Isn't it amazing the emotions and memories a picture can trigger?
Chris Smith CSSBB
Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage