An End and Beginnings; Not Exactly Vacation

We were supposed to be discussing what we are doing for the last week of Summer Vacation…huh?
The Fox who made the topics for the last few months could not have known that school starts here at the beginning of August and that all heck would break loose at my house at the end of this month.
Last week #2 Son went out of state to a training seminar for his job, so I have had the grandson almost constantly, which is not anything new but at the same time #1 Son was called-up to fight wildfires. Yes. He has done it before. He has been fighting fires since he was 18 and informed me that the wildfires are no more dangerous than what he had been doing all along. Except for the fact that he almost had the burning roof of a restaurant fall on him, (and others), a few years back, I still think it is. But, there you have it. I also had to take major duty with his little girls. So I had 3 cousins,10 and under…and last week a full moon…yet, I remain to tell the tale.(So far, so good.)
Then we have my father-in-law who has been quite ill and failed quickly. My husband rushed two states away to be at his bedside and stay for all of his siblings to arrive for the funeral, well, most of them. My husband has 14 full brothers and sisters and one half-sister; she and another brother did not attend. Nor could I. I have known the family since 1976 and been part of it for nearly 31 years, but I stayed behind for the grandkids. I had planned to go when the time came. My father-in-law lived near where I grew up, and I have not been back there in 32 years. So the husband has used up vacation time from work, (along with 3 day bereavement leave), to be with his siblings, and communicating with more of the family. I have spent many hours on the phone or Facebook messaging with his,(our), family members, close and extended, which has been a comfort to me. My father’s family did not have a reunion this year, nor did I get to visit my mother’s home state and the family remaining there as I had planned, but we have a big wedding next year there that I am looking forward to. This year was the in-laws’ turn.

The visit seems to be doing my husband a lot of good. He has gotten closer to those with whom he had been out-of-communication and rekindled fraternal feelings with the same. It has also done a lot of good for him to see the youngest ones no longer as little kids, which is where his thoughts used to go when he’d get calls and email from them. Most of those girls, who he used to picture with in their little dresses for their First Communions, are now grandmothers. Many of the ‘boys’ are grandfathers; the next youngest has 9 children… the youngest ‘boy’ is a strapping, 6’1″ policeman. My husband needed to see this, them as they truly are now, all at the same time.
He went out eight years ago for his mother’s funeral, but it was for a shorter time and everyone was in an uproar. No one knew what to do,(she died pretty suddenly), and then the estate had to be divided. She left ambiguous instructions and problems ensued.
Those feelings and facades remained during the trip he took out there for a visit last year when his dad was really slowing down. He met with some of the other ‘kids’ then, but not in this soul-baring state, and this time there is no estate here to divide, as his father leaves a second wife. My husband has become better friends with the wife and befriended her daughters, whom he had never met .One has a lifestyle with which he had been, shall we say, uncomfortable. He is at peace with it and gained understanding. He also came to terms with his father’s choices in life and accepted the man’s repentance for others. From what I gather, there have been a lot of cleansing tears shed by all. ( If you have stock in Kimberly –Clark, expect a big check with all the Kleenex used by the family this past week.)

So I guess although ‘vacation’ is not the word I’d use to describe the last week here, it has been exciting and refreshing.(And hopefully it will be restful, when The Firefighter returns.)

So, how was the end of your Summer?


About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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6 Responses to An End and Beginnings; Not Exactly Vacation

  1. jeff7salter says:

    Certainly family funerals can be very stressful events … all the more so when family members have not been able to remain close (or even have developed dysfunctional relationships).
    Glad your hubby was able to re-open some of those lines of communication and get to know some of the newer members of the family.
    I have a step family thru my Dad’s second wife and — while we had been reasonably close during years when geography was kinder — I have not seen any of them since my Dad’s death 10 years ago. They recently sent a group photo and I could barely recognize some of the older ones. Some of the youngest have doubled their ages. I think at least two of the kids were not even alive when I last saw that branch of the family.
    It certainly seems your summer has been chaotic, Tonette, for a number of reasons. Hopefully things will soon settle down in your household.


    • Thanks,Jeff, on all counts.
      The Husband’s strengthening ties were with his blood-family members.He has never considered the others ‘step-family’. He was grown before his father re-married and it was hard, given the huge family and other problems. (The half-sister is not of that union.)
      I have only seen a small fraction of my sons’ first cousins,( that number near 60.)
      We had some incredibly great step-families in my side of the family and in my husband’s.
      (Hence my Salute to Stepdads here, June 2012).


  2. pjharjo says:

    My Dear Tonette,

    My last week of summer has been Exciting (for a different reason, as you all read about in my post earlier this week), but not the whirlwind yours has been, I’m sure! I don’t know what’s up with schools starting early or going year-round, for Heaven’s Sake! Here in the PNW, it’s still after Labor Day, which is not what I hear from you all!

    Your Firefighter son sounds like most sons who try to keep mom’s fears down. Whereas he says his wildfire fighting is” no different’ than what he has been doing all along, my son (Blackhawk Pilot) tells me he’s “safer in the air” when he is deployed to the Middle East. But it’s sill scary for mom!!

    The reason for your husband reconnecting is not a good one, but it is still good that he has reconnected with family he had lost touch with and been able to redefine them in his mind. 🙂 Gosh, I have lost touch with a great deal of my family. (Very large and widespread.) It would be wonderful for someone who has kept in touch to spring up with the idea of a family reunion!

    I look forward to the day when your son is safely home and you have a chance for some peace of mind and relaxation!


  3. Thanks,Janette.
    Those fellas do not understand what they do to a mother’s blood pressure!
    The kids here have 2 week breaks in the Fall, Winter and Spring, hence the early start.
    I started calling a few cousins after my mother died,(all of them on her side). I had been completely out-of-touch with all on my father’s side.I mentioned that my sister and I were going down to NC where my father grew up and said I’d like to see one cousin.He said, my brother wants to see you, One will drive in from Atlanta. Another said she’d drive in from SC.The next year, we got our only aunt, her daughter a distant cousin, along with several spouses and children.It was wonderful.I expect the wedding next year will be a reunion of my mother’s side.It is long overdue.
    I am alone for a short time today after running errands with the girls, then taking the grandson to a’t.The girls are coming back for the night and tomorrow is the bigger one’s birthday.I am going to catch a catnap!


  4. Iris B says:

    It certainly sounds like you had very busy days recently! I hope life will settle for you soon again, and let’s hope your son has returned all well and safe!
    No summer here, but the last few days have been gorgeous …. it seems spring is finally here 🙂 *jumps for joy*


    • Tonette Joyce says:

      I’m glad Spring is bringing joy there,Iris!
      It HAS been something else here.The son who was at the fires is on his way back, right now,.He should be home on Monday, thank you so much.


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