We had finally managed this family gathering -- ostensibly called to get the babies together. I knew better. We all did. This one was for the matriarch -- my 89-year-old mother -- though even she had declared it a chance to get the babies together. Even as I write this, I chuckle to myself. Like the 1-year-old Christian and 7-month-old Brooklyne would know!
Whatever the reasons, we were at last gathered together. It had probably taken the babies to make it happen, for with marriages came new families and we were spreading out geographically as well as in numbers and complexities of relationships. There were times when I've found myself longing for the "romantic" view -- a time when family stayed closer together. There is always that longing for simplicity that likes to be heard once in a while.
As the babies played around each other (no one would call what they were doing "playing together," would they?), I thought about this family and others and what family means. I pondered each of our roles and how they had played out over the years. My brothers and sister and I had each joined with individuals from families from very different "templates" than our own and our children stretched boundaries even further. I thought about families as systems and how they -- and this one in particular -- work.
Virginia Satir, in her work on family systems, often used the metaphor of a mobile to explain the principle of balance in the systems. While much of her work dealt with the way dysfunctional systems were created and maintained, I have always liked the visual I got of this mobile, dancing in the air as the wind or other movement created the shifts and balances.
But, wait! I was over-thinking things as usual. I was there for the enjoyment of the moment. My family always says I think too much and ask too many questions. Maybe they're right. What did this moment hold? (OK, so I just changed the style of the questioning.)