Tuesday, June 17, 2003

The older I get, the more I feel a familial pull.

My Mom’s side of the family, the Grays, are unfortunately largely lost to me/us. Grandma’s 90 and in mid-stage Alzheimer’s with no looking back. My Aunt Muffet, Mom’s sole sibling, seems to want nothing to do with us (translation: a couple of years ago, after three engagements and two divorces and even more jealousy of Mom, she flipped, and essentially gave us the finger. Hey, lady, have a nice life by yourself). My two cousins on that side are, basically, losers, so I don’t feel a big sense of loss there. [Grandpa passed away in 1992.]

The Inskeeps are another matter entirely. We’re a big extended family – Dad’s the fifth of seven brothers, and each of them married and had between two and four children. [Both of Dad’s parents were gone by my sixth birthday.] I have 17 first cousins on Dad’s side. Most of us, however, don’t see each other; as opposed to our aunts and uncles (six sets of which still live in Indiana), my generation is a bit more strewn across the U.S. Cousin Steve and I are the only ones on the East coast. And I’m increasingly glad he and his wife Carolee are nearby.

The reason for that is relatively simple: friends change, lovers change. Family doesn’t, like it or not. And, ideally, family takes care of each other. To wit, I called Carolee this morning to let her know I’ll be in the District over July 4th. Not only was she pleased, she also offered me lodging with the two of them if I so need/desire, which I might. Now, I only just met Carolee less than two weeks ago, mind; she’s been married to my cousin for 10 years. For her to make such an offer without my even asking says a lot to me about the nature of (our) family ties. And, for that matter, about who we Inskeeps are. It makes me glad.

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