The three day weekend has seen me in Florida for a family wedding as my cousin Mark married. We thought neither of us would be able to make it but Deb’s mom said I should go and she’d come north and give Deb a hand should it come to that.
So, here I am, reunited with my brother and sister, the first time we’re together in nearly a decade and over a decade since we’ve all been together with my mother. You’d think little time had passed as fell into old habits and routines. After all, we stay in touch by phone and e-mail so it’s not like there’s been a vacuum. Still, some of the things that annoyed us about one another three or even four decades ago continue plus some new foibles. It’s amazing how intransigent we can get over the littlest of things.
The wedding was an excuse for three generations of the Bloom family to gather, perhaps the largest turnout for an event in some time. My cousin Marilyn came in from Israel while the Atlanta contingent traveled south. Unfortunately, Mark chose not to invite three cousins from my generation and while it is entirely his call, I think it was somewhat small-minded.
The extravaganza kicked off Saturday afternoon as my Uncle Eric gathered the eldest generation together and had them chat, showing off old pictures as he video recorded it all. The next generation took over and me and the siblings arrived for the last few minutes and wrapped up the coverage. Between his videos and my Cousin Alan’s genealogical research, we’re building up a nice archive for the future generations.
That evening was the rehearsal dinner where we finally got to mingle, hug and play catch-up. Judy marveled at meeting family she has only ever heard of and others she had not seen in decades. The dinner was a nice buffet, marred only by excessive speeches from everyone in the bridal party.
On Sunday, we had the day free so the siblings spent the day together. Neil and I did some heavy lifting for Mom and then we dressed for the Wedding of the Century (or so it seemed). Our 7 p.m. wedding service started after 7:30 and was very nicely done. It was followed by an over-the-top cocktail hour with an amazing assortment of buffet appetizers in a room clearly not designed for 200+ people. Still, more time to play catch-up which was appreciated.
We moved next door for the sit-down dinner (not that anyone was hungry after the amazing appetizers). The 10-piece band was wailing away, playing far too much disco and not enough rock and roll but they were tight and good. I sat with most of my generation and made sure to chat with one and all while my cousin Laura made certain I also was seen on the dance floor. By the time we got through the salad and sorbet cleansing courses, I barely ate the main course and couldn’t even finish the dessert sampler. My mom was exhausted because by this time it was midnight so we saw them cut the cake (fortunately without the schmaltzy cake-in-the-face nonsense) and leave. We’re told it lasted until 2 since the dessert was followed by cake and after the band called it quits, everyone remaining moved back next door for aperitifs and a dessert buffet.
I may have posed for the largest number of pictures since my own wedding as people put together different groups by generation, gender, family line, and the so on.
Here’s the thing: I had a ball despite the stylishly over-the-top affair. It was a delight to chat with one and all, and in most cases, the years melted away. We heard stories, some of which were actually brand new, and played catch up. Obviously, everyone asked after Robbie so I found myself repeating details but their concern was nice. The three generations mixed very well despite the distance and years and entirely different lifestyles.
We got to see each other once more, for the morning after buffet brunch. Not that anyone was all that hungry but it was the most relaxed and understated day. We all appreciated the chance to see one another again and there was much contact info swapping.
Family can be tiring, the bickering and silly fighting can be exhausting. Heck, yesterday things threatened to explode minutes before the ceremony began over who-knows-what. But in the end, these are who we grew up, who looked after us as we grew, and who were there for good times and bad. I genuinely like the family and enjoyed their company, and am seeking ways to see them between the major events.