The Family Reunion
I had always hated family reunions. In fact, I considered them a waste of time that could have otherwise been used properly in the work place. I ran a high end fashion boutique that I intended to manage personally. An invited for a family reunion party was thus considered a hindrance to achieving my dream. My grandmother was an ardent family centered person. She always preached the need to maintain a close knit family regardless of the distance and work commitment that may hinder such meetings. My grandmother always insisted that besides all material things in life, we only have a family that one can proudly belong to.
My grandmother knew I would find every excuse not to attend the family reunions. So far I had missed three consecutive reunions, each time coming up with a work related excuse. This time, however, my grandmother made the personal effort to call me. The reunion was to be at her house, and she requested me, two weeks, in advance to attend as she needed me there. I found it particularly strange that my grandmother, whom I love but rarely talked to, decided to invite me personally. I decided to attend the reunion being the only daughter of the family. Our house comprised of boys; five brothers and a cousin.
The reunion day arrived, and I made sure that I was actively involved in the kitchen. My grandmother always prepared the main dishes while the sons got involved with the grilling and barbecue. It was a full family affair as uncles and aunties brought my cousins along. My brother brought their wives, girlfriends, my nieces and nephews. Our family reunion is a time that we all let loose and forget that we are adults. We engage in child hood games and plays. Our family reunion is also a time that we get to discuss our accomplishments and challenges and what we thank the Lord for. My grandmother was keen on seeing everyone show some appreciation to God for any accomplishments in life. After a day of fun, laughter, and merry making, we settled in my grandmother’s living room and listened to her mother advice.
Over the years, we had been accustomed to her lengthy speeches, and it was common to hear a relative requesting her to keep the speech brief. My grandmother spoke for close to one hour, emphasizing on the need for family unity. She emphasized that a united family looks out for each other. I was particularly drawn to her speech as I realized that I had gradually been consumed by my work. I had no time for family and friends as my life revolved around work and my house. My grandmother pointed out that a time will come that I will have to take over as the matriarch of the family, a time that I wished would never come. Ending of her speech, my grandmother kissed us goodbye and went to bed.
We remained awake for long cracking jokes and telling stories retiring to bed late into the night. I was happy that my grandmother had convinced me to join the family reunion. The next day, we realized to that my grandmother was no more. She had died peacefully in her sleep.
That family reunion was last year and looking back I always cherish it. It was the one time that my entire extended family met in one family reunion. For one reason or another, one of two relative would be tied somewhere. I cherish the family reunion as it was not only the last that we shared with my grandmother, but it was one that made me realize the importance of family. I always held the notion that family members are cumbersome thus avoided them.
My grandmother’s speech had, however, had an impact on me. I made the choice to be the guide of my family. I decided to hire more personnel in my boutique so that I am not burdened with duties throughout the year. I also ensured that I kept in touch with my parents, brothers and my extended family. Despite everything else that a man can possess, family remains the most valuable of them all. I made the decision to embrace this as my mantle in life.
This year I organized the family reunion where I invited my extended family to my house. It was a first, in various ways; it was the first time that most of my family members had spent the night at my home. Moreover, it was the first time I took my nieces and nephews to my boutique and picked out a cloth for each. Above all, it was the first family reunion without my grandmother. I decided to be the glue that will keep this family united, just like my grandmother had told me. I also decided o open up to my family about my family introducing them to my partner whom I had known for over three years. Everyone was happy for me, and I promised to keep the extended family united for as long as I shall live.