My wife informed me of the inevitable: “Unk” had passed away.
This particular death of my great uncle marked the end of a generation in our family. Unk was the last of three brothers to pass. My grandfather was the middle brother, passing away 14 years and one day prior to Unk’s death. My other great uncle, Roger, the older brother, passed away seven years and three weeks prior. (Yes, I have a crazy thing for remembering dates and events.)
During dinner after the funeral, my cousins and I joked about how our parents were all sitting together on one side of the table while we were all on the other side. I saw my daughter sitting at the head of the table, looking toward my parents, and then it clicked.
My sister, cousins, and I are now “The Parents” of this family – the middle generation of relatives bridging old and young. The baton had passed, unspoken.
Freaky? Scary? Did this really just happen?
Don’t get me wrong, I have been a parent from the moment I learned my wife Jen was pregnant, but I always felt like a child within the family structure. That reality had shifted.
My sister, cousins, and I are now the middle generation.
This may not mean much to some, but we are a family where Sunday afternoon lunch was a constant, monthly family dinners and yearly vacations the norm. This was a turning point.
Maybe it hit me more because I am the oldest of the old “grandchildren” or the first one to have a child, but on February 3, 2014, I became a member of “The Parents.” I expect to not be at the kiddie table at our next family dinner.