It's the first time I've seen many of these women in 2 years. More important, it's the first time my oldest daughter, Edie, got to come along. It was a very good weekend.
Our gathering continues to grow, as the 3rd generation is being allowed to join in the fun. I loved introducing Edie to these women who I have loved and admired my entire life. They've seen her as a baby at weddings and funerals, but this is the first time they've seen her as a young lady. Seeing them ask her questions and play games with her and show her what a special and unequivocal member of the extended family she is made my heart swell.
This is part of your story. This is part of who you are. These songs are ingrained in your soul. This laughter is your birthright. This wisdom is your future.
The majority of this reunion consists of talking and laughing, catching up on good news, mourning the losses and disappointments that occurred since last we met. Any schedule we have revolves around the second most important activity of the reunion: eating. And an afternoon tea. Of course.
While the menu practically wrote itself, the food was prepared by many hands - cutting and slicing, spreading and assembling, the assortment of tea sandwiches piled up in beautiful mounds on a mis-match of plates. Tables, both high and low, were set with whatever place settings we could find in the cottages we were renting, and everyone had a platinum rimmed saucer to hold their scone. That saucer would have held their tea cups... if I had remembered to pack them in the car. *sigh*
The tea was a special treat I actually DID remember to pack. A collection from Vahdam Teas. There were so many options, we had a hard time deciding on which would accompany Afternoon Tea. We finally decided on the Avaata Supreme Virgin Nilgiri Organic Spring Green Tea (try saying that 5 times fast!), which my oldest niece absolutely fell in love with! Light, refreshing - an earthy green rather than a seaweed green. We also chose the Malty Earl Grey, which many of us loved dressing up with milk and sugar (cubes, of course!).
After tea, there was singing. My mother's family was born and bred in music, and I soaked in the familiar tones and harmonies of my aunts echoing in the voices of my cousins. There is a raw richness in timbre that is signature Cunningham, a legacy that I had never considered before but am now so thankful for. Edie watched, listened, and sang along, her sweet voice mixing perfectly with the rest. She is one of us, after all.
The last night was capped off by a trip to the renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival to see Hamlet in the theatre under the stars. Infused with modern touches of death metal, the production was hands down the best I've seen. While I much prefer comedies, this play's THE thing.
Another Ashland reunion, another weekend of family and laughter. I'm so blessed to have such a rare opportunity to spend time with my Mom, her sisters, my sister-in-law, my nieces, my cousins, their children and, now, my daughter! A house of girls, a house of wisdom, a house of music, a house of love. When it comes to perfect moments, this one rises to the top.