Timing can be everything. Just a few weeks ago we buried my cousin Audrey, the first time many of us had seen one another in quite some time. With my niece Corinne’s bat mitzvah, impending it inspired several to make last minute arrangements to fly out and regroup for something joyous.
Given my school schedule, we were going to have to miss the Friday night activities and Kate, just back in the states, was in position to travel once more so the trip overall, was going to be on the short side.
Still, we arrived 11:30 Friday night and were greeted by my brother and several cousins. Better, they had two plates of dessert treats waiting for us. We stayed up another hour catching up before crashing for the night.
Corinne delivered one of the smoothest, best readings of the Torah and Haftorah I have ever seen from a 13 year old. Mom, Neil and I stumbled through our Aliyah, but the rest of the morning went exceedingly well.
Once the services ended, we all returned to the hotel, changed into comfy clothes and most of us went out for a nice lunch. We took over an entire room and for several hours talked, recreated our family tree for my younger cousin Meredith as the paper moved around the room as people added in missing names or adjusted spellings. And no sooner did lunch end, we repaired to the hotel and hung out in the lobby, letting the conversation continue. Not only did I renew acquaintances with my generation of cousins, but I spent prolonged time with two cousins from the next generation, who were sheer delights.
The reception was nearby and was packed with dozens of Corinne’s friends along with adult s friends. It was your typical Bat Mitzvah celebration and as Corinne called up people to light ceremonial candles, theme music played. Want to guess what was played when Deb and I were summoned? Yes, the Neil Hefti theme to the 1966 Batman television series. Loved it.
And the conversation continued this morning over a leisurely breakfast.
Several attendees, who have married into the family, all noted how tightly knit we appear and how well we get along. Growing up in this environment, I forget how it is but have come to relish it. We gathered from eight different states to be there for one of our own, and despite having different backgrounds upbringings, jobs and family situations, we some how come together, sit and laugh, swapping stories and making merry.
With any luck, this renewed feeling of family will continue as we have already begun talking about a summer gathering and maybe even a 2012 family cruise.
I can’t wait.