Kindred

Over the years, I received many birthday cards from Grandma Louise, most of which have the words “You are special” written in her spidery handwriting.  I bet she wrote that in all the birthday cards she sent.  Though it is tempting to dismiss those often-written words, I see Grandma’s truth more clearly when I look at the picture below.

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Really now.  They ARE special.

Wesley and Sidney, cousins and Grandmother Louise’s great-grandsons, peek at each around a tree.  I am sure both boys have birthday cards tucked away in shoeboxes with Grandma’s words “you are special” written on them.

The above picture and the ones following were taken the day of her funeral.

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A few relatives followed us home from the church service to try out the zipline.  Aunt Carla, mother of 6, takes the COOL & BRAVE MOM award for daring the ride.

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Though wee Ada was perturbed to have to stay with Aunt Rita while her Mom rode.

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Ada did brave the chaos of a mob of relatives to explore on her own for a bit, but a fall in the woods had her wanting her Mama.  Thankfully, big cousin Sidney was there to walk her back.

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It seemed like a good idea to get a picture of some siblings and a cousin from the opposite coast.

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But they got unruly.

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Hmmm . . . . maybe Grandma Louise meant something different when she told these people they were “special.”  I bet she put it in quotes like that.  Hey y’all, I want to see your birthday cards from Grandma.

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Little girl cousins traipsing through the woods . . . .

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Wesley found Nellie, the tire horse swing.  Big cousin Lincoln helped Wesley giddyap.

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Wesley is special enough to get multiple pictures.

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Wesley’s sister, Ada, is trying to smile.

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Sid pulls out his favorite guest-entertainment —- the potato gun.  Cousin Jesse stands aside, watching his Uncle Sid with considerable caution — smart kid.

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Sidney fires a potato into the side of an old barn.

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Prairie and Chloe, favorite cousins, though they almost look like sisters.

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They called this their “silly face.”

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They begged me to take a picture of their “mad face.”

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And this is their . . . .I don’t know what these faces are  . . . . . .

Would Grandma call these their “special faces”?

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It was a special day.

In addition to the memorial service for Grandma, we got to be with family.  We met Sandra, a west coast cousin, whom I had always heard about but never met.  She came back to the house with us and we learned how delightful she is.

There were so many people that I didn’t photograph, so many daring, fun, “special” descendants of Grandma Louise.  It is hard to think of all these people and not believe that inclusion in her lineage is somehow special, a kind of chosen.  I am not a blood relation, but I feel so blessed to have been grafted into this family, to be connected to these kindred which sounds like and feels sacred.

I will always remember these people and this time as special, just like Grandma said.

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