When I think of family I picture a show like Parenthood. There is a Patriarch, a Matriarch, their children, and then grandchildren. It looks like a pyramid and the family tree has equal branches. There are no off-shoots to an estranged sibling or outlier relative. It’s perfect. While that is not exactly my family today I feel like I got a glimpse of it through who I would consider my family’s Patriarch, my Grandfather.
He was one of five brothers and with my Grandmother had three children, including my Mother. As a child I spent a lot of time at their house, usually a week in the summer and every Christmas at minimum. My Grandfather was so “of his era.” He was classically handsome, served in the Navy, loved his scotch, and smoked cigarettes like he was the Marlboro man. He made a friend everywhere he went. He was tough and warm at the same time. He was stubborn, smart, and provided for his family beyond all expectations. He put all of his grandchildren through college and supported his children and their families in ways I’ll never be privy to.
My favorite times were, and are still, when I can see our family tree come to life. When my Grandfather’s three children are together with their children and now their own grandchildren. I’ve moved up a notch on the family tree. That means I’m getting old and while it’s scary, it is a beautiful privilege to see my brother and our cousins with their spouses and children. I’m grateful to be part of a family that, while not particularly close knit, shows up for each other and knows how fortunate we are.


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