Monday, February 10, 2020

Messy efforts

This afternoon we piled our table high with paper and scissors and crayons and glue to make valentines. Oh, and a big mess. We also made one of those.

We stuffed a dozen different envelopes full of a ridiculous number of valentines, some of which were lovely and some of which were, frankly, train wrecks, and will hopefully get them in the mail tomorrow.

This was a useful exercise for us because we got to make a list of our loved ones and talk about them as we made up valentines for them. It's always nice to remember why you love people, isn't it? To think about what they like, what they've done for you, and good times you've shared together.

It's even nicer to realize that you care about more people than you could possibly ever contact all in one sitting. There were many, many people that we would have loved to make a valentine envelope for but, unfortunately, could not.

I don't know how any of this stuff works (stuff being the grown up stuff) but I suppose I should figure it out. It's weird to think that Andrew and I—we really did get married quite young—have just about finished growing up together and are now growing old together. We have some time to go before we're truly old but those years are sneaking up on us and with Karen's passing we've been thrust into the position, somehow, of being more grown up than we wanted to.

And I don't know how to keep a family together after the glue is gone, so to speak!

My mom's cousin recently said this about her mom—that she was the glue that kept the family together and they didn't know what to do. "Then be the glue!" my mom said. "And if you can't be the glue then at least be something sticky. Be tape or a stapler! A paperclip!" You just have to figure something out!

But still, I don't know what to do or how to do it. And I don't know that it's even my place.

I've seen my mom's cousin's family (a different set of cousins; big family) rally together as siblings after their parents' deaths. They have cousin parties regularly, hold family reunions annually, and meet at the temple twice a year to celebrate their parents' birthdays by doing a session in the temple together. They seem to be rather supportive of each other.

My mom's siblings have, from my perspective, gotten closer together since their parents' passings as well (but that could just be that I'm more aware of their relationships because I'm no longer a child).

My dad's family hasn't done as well at keeping in contact (and there are a number of reasons for this, I'm sure, but I don't think I've really heard boo from any of his siblings since Grandma died (except for Uncle Ken and Aunt Bev who showed up to Rosie's wedding reception)). It's going on five years now!

I don't know how to keep people feeling close, especially since we're so far away (relatively speaking), but I'm going to keep trying a few things.

So I prayed as I stuffed our (sloppy) made-with-love valentines into envelopes, "Please bless our messy efforts."

(That sentence is probably applicable in every facet of my life, to be honest.)

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