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Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Kasaboski Family Reunion, Summer 2015

I come from a large family. My extended family, just on my Mom's side, is so large that the incomplete family tree I once saw at one of our reunions spanned an entire wall. To say that my family is prolific would be exceptionally accurate. So, when we have family reunions, they tend to be loud, fun, crazy affairs, such as the one last night!
A few weeks ago, my sister called home, excited about the upcoming reunion. At the time, I have to admit that I instantly felt frustrated and unhappy. I had put the reunion out of my mind. I have been hired by Clyde Space, and was expecting to be in Scotland in July, so now that it was August, and the reunion was impending, it served as a reminder that I was still here, waiting, not that I needed such a reminder.

However, after a couple of deep breaths, and some chastisement from my sister, I looked on the bright side. I was going to see my family again! Reunite with cousins, aunts, and uncles I haven't seen in a year or more!

We arrived in the late afternoon and the weather was perfect! Warm Sun, beautiful clouds, blue sky, and a light breeze. The first people we noticed weren't even Kasaboskis, but they were family. Two very dear friends, Stan and Sue, who we've known for a long time (they've known me my entire life), showed up, surprising us all!

We walked Nannie, my Mom's mom, over to the main party. My Uncle Gary was hosting, in his beautiful backyard, and the main area was an old barn, with decorations, lawn chairs, and family everywhere. When I say barn, you may conjure a certain image in mind. However, disregard all but the shape of that structure and imagine a perfectly clean, large, welcoming, open space.

Inside the barn, there was food, more family, and some uncles playing music. We take our music pretty seriously in our family. My four uncles on my mother's side have played guitar their entire lives, and we had some new additions including my neighbour playing the violin, my cousin brought his guitar, and I brought my banjo.

Yes, I play the banjo, didn't I mention that before? Haha, years ago I decided that I wanted to learn to play something but I really didn't want to learn guitar. My uncles were so good that I didn't see much point. Yes, they could have taught me well, but it would be redundant. The banjo is a pretty fun instrument, and I've found it interesting and just different enough to enjoy. I don't play often, not as inspired to practice as my uncles, but I enjoy it.

Anyway, I mingled with friends and family, hugging and talking with people I haven't seen in a while, and explained my current employment status. Everyone was so happy for me and taking a great interest, which was really nice, and I learned quite a lot about how other people were, and new interesting projects they were working on.

Food was delicious, provided by all, a mixture of all food groups, and I made everyone laugh by making faces at some of the salads! 

Later, I rejoined the music and played for several hours. It was really nice. I was so out of practice, but I got back into things, and I sang my heart out. This is the first time that I've attempted to do that. I never used to like to sing, somehow convinced myself that I couldn't, but this last year has given me a lot of confidence and I found my voice.

After dinner, I spent some time stargazing with my Dad, seeing some of the early Perseid meteor shower, and several constellations on the horizon. Some cousins of mine, who live in Boston, were completely amazed by the night sky, clear and full of stars far from light pollution. You could clearly see the Milky Way and it was very beautiful.

Toward the end of the evening, a smaller number remained awake, and we moved inside the barn, for warmth and company. We talked about cool things in space, (I confused one uncle when I talked about fish in space, he briefly imagining fish with scuba gear, it was really late in the night at this point), pets, family, and all had a great time.

Of all the things to love about this perfect night, I have two highlights.

The first was that there was no drama. There have been tensions in my family for some time and when this many passionate people are all in the same place, it is common for us to get into fights. However, everyone was civil, happy, and pleasant. I felt no traces of old animosity, and it was very nice to not have to worry about that.

The second, but most important, highlight was my Nannie. Her health has been deteriorating in the past few years, and so I was not sure if she would have fun. Physically, her health is fairly good, only suffering from minor issues and the occasional belief that it's cold out when it really isn't. (Read: she's getting old) Mentally, however, she has her good days and her bad. Sometimes it is tough to draw her out of her shell and engage her in the world around her. 

However, she had a fantastic night! She was a little surprised at first, because while we had been telling her that the reunion was coming up, she thought it was the next day. So, when we arrived, she was quiet, and looked a little lost. However, we set her up in a nice chair, with the Sun shining on her from behind and she smiled all night long. She spoke with the entire family, recognizing everyone, talking, joking, asking about people who weren't there. Toward the end of the evening, we thought she would be too cold and want to go home, however my Dad and cousin helped with that. My Dad moved my Nannie, chair and all, into the barn earlier in the evening to listen to music, and my Dad made the joke that he placed her under the electrical outlet in case she needed to be charged up later. (She laughed at that) Later, my cousin saw that my Nannie was getting cold and grabbed an electric blanket from the house, plugged it in, and wrapped it around her. So my Dad's joke wasn't too far from the truth, which made my Nannie laugh even more.

As much as I am impatient to get started on the next stage of my life, I am quite fortunate to be home. I get to spend all the time I want with my Nannie, and my immediate family, and I had the chance to reunite enjoyably with my extended family. It has been a long summer of waiting, but good things are always worth the wait!

Thanks for reading! 

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