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[personal profile] lawnrrd
The weekend that just ended was relatively quiet, involving soccer, cooking, and playdates with the neighbor. But I spent much of the previous weekend continuing to reconnect with my family.

After my mother died, I drifted apart from her family. It was an odd thing to do, because I actually liked most of them. And I hardly noticed it at first, but then one day I noticed that years had passed since I'd seen many of them.

Looking back, I can think of a few reasons why I let it happen, including freight around the idea of "family" that I can trace back to my parents, drama (which is to say, litigation) between my brother and my uncle, and my feeling overwhelmed by other obligations whenever I went back to Philadelphia.

But I had started to reverse that over the past year. One of my cousins lives between NYC and the crags, so, on one of our weekend trips, K and I stopped in for dinner with her, her husband, and her sister, and we stayed overnight. The boy and I stayed for a weekend in August with my aunt and uncle at their home on the Jersey shore.

And a week ago, my mother's family gathered in New York for the bat mitzvah of my cousin's oldest daughter. The cousin actually lives out west, but much of his (our) family lives sort of near NYC, and some of his wife's family lives here, while some of her other relatives live in Israel. So I guess this seemed a central location.

I had been looking forward to the weekend for a while. Aside from the chance to continue reconnecting, this would be the first time some of my relatives had seen my son, and the most extended contact that others had had with him in a long time. Also very important to me was that this would be the first time K had been to a gathering of my family.

And we saw a lot of them. Things began Friday night, when we gathered at the synagogue for shabbat dinner with my family. The nanny was a little late bringing the boy to me at my office, so K got there before I did and reported that my cousins were taking excellent care of her. The food was excellent, and I told K that we could count on something similarly over the top if we ever go out west to visit my cousin.

I did forget for a minute that the synagogue was orthodox, which was long enough for me to get my hand slapped when I pulled out my phone to take a picture of the boy with my cousin's other child, a boy about my son's age.

Just because the service started the next morning at 8:30 didn't mean that I was expected to show up at 8:30. When I asked my cousin what time I should get there, he said that 9:30 or 10 would be fine, and, really, it would be OK for me to skip the whole thing. His tone suggested that he wished that he could skip the whole thing.

My brother didn't get that memo, though, because he and his gentile girlfriend showed up at 8:30. He also didn't get the one about this being an orthodox shul, because they were stunned on arrival to find all the men on the first floor praying, while the women's balcony upstairs was empty. Intimidated by the circumstance, they turned around and went out for breakfast. They wound up skipping the service entirely.

The service itself was all in Hebrew, so I had no idea what was going on. The boy was exceptionally well-behaved, considering that he's eight years old and had no idea what was going on either. Kiddush lunch downstairs afterwards was a mob scene.

I wondered what this congregation would do for a bat mitzvah. As it turned out, she didn't read from the Torah; the rabbi simply recognized her at the end of the service.

For the afternoon, we went ice skating in Central Park with K. The boy is still new at ice skating, but showed some real improvement. K had to leave early for another engagement, but the boy and I stayed and skated a little more. Afterwards, we went back to my office to change, and he played video games while I took a nap.

Dinner was at a restaurant on the Upper East Side. My brother showed up, and things were much less awkward than anyone had feared. K rejoined us following her engagement, looking ravishing and continuing to be a big hit with my family. The boy and I got home late, and he crashed into bed.

The next morning, the boy and I went to Lowcountry in the Village, where K joined us for brunch with my brother and his girlfriend. The food was good, and K and I agreed that we needed to go back, even if they somehow had managed to run out of bacon (!) for brunch. My brother and I don't talk frequently, so it was good to catch up. And then, after brunch, we parted and went about our Sundays.

So, it was a busy weekend but a good one. My brother and I managed to reconnect (or continue to) with family that we had become distant from. There was a lot of food, much of it excellent. And K gave me more and more to be grateful for.


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May 2017

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