Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anointing the new family Patriarch

August 19, 2012

My summer has been full of family. It's been a few years since we've come together this often for so many different things. Every other week we're celebrating *something* wonderful, and in the off weeks, we've got our heads together on this-or-that project. Birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, a wedding, impromptu picnics, a new pool (yeah I sure like that one!) and, yesterday, the family reunion. Still ahead is a trip south to visit my step-son.

I know why my side of the family was so quiet last year. The death of a beloved aunt cast a pall over all of us. But time heals, and this summer has been a wonderful affirmation of who we are now.  We, my partner and I, made a similar passage a few years ago when his mother and uncle died within a month of each other. Siblings, niece's, nephews and cousins all, we've woven new threads to mend the tears in the fabric of family left by sudden departures.

At the reunion yesterday, the family, et al, seemed to suddenly realize that only one member of their parent's generation remains - an aunt. My beloved is now the family patriarch. He's been well aware of easing into this role for a couple of years, but by now it seems everyone else is ready to acknowledge his is the new senior generation, and he is the oldest male.

I'm not sure this is a good thing. The man already believes he's the Boss of All He Surveys. But, as I told his sisters, I'm up to the challenge of keeping his ego in check. I've been doing it for twenty or so years. I've had practice.

Joking aside, it was good to be among his family and know that I'm not considered "an in-law." I'm simply part of the family. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every family were as accepting of all its members? The world would be a warmer place.

The Patriarch partied with the siblings until the wee hours and consequently missed the sibling breakfast. I didn't need to say a word to remind him he used to be able to party all night and go all day. He's got that one covered himself. But such whining!

I didn't even try not to snicker at him. I didn't even try to refrain from pointing out the obvious to him - I was up, showered, dressed and ready to go. The only defense he offered was he's ten years older than me, and one day, I, too, would no longer be able to party half the night away and get up at seven a.m.  I kicked my sneakers off and told him he might be the newly anointed family Patriarch, but since he wasn't buying my breakfast, he could cook it.

So he did, and with great aplomb, too. I only regret I didn't get a picture.

KC Kendricks

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