Summer: that wonderful time of year where we honor the timeless tradition we call the family reunion!
It is a time to gather with all those people, many of whom you have spent the majority of your life living with, and celebrate the fact that you are all related. It is a time to be reunited, to catch up with family, and be reminded of our youth. They know you not as the confident adult you have become, but the little brother, or little sister that they have and will always see you as. Old stories are shared and new ones are broken in as we laugh and cry all while eating and drinking way too much. It is a great time.
My fondest memory of family reunions is seeing all my cousins, most of whom we didn’t get to see very often. We would catch up immediately and soon be out playing in the family barn climbing through bails of hay piled into simple mazes.
There is something very special about seeing your cousins. Is it a bond created from sharing grandparents? Perhaps. Is it the fact that your parents are related? Maybe. I always liked it because they always seemed to play rougher with my older brother than I was ever able to do. There is nothing like seeing your big brother get tackled during a game of touch football.
Now that we have all grown up and have kids of our own, reunions have taken on a whole new meaning. Getting the cousins together for the “cousins” picture is no longer me and my siblings squirming around while all the parents tell us to sit still for the picture. Now it is us, snapping off picture after picture hoping to capture a moment when all the kids are looking at least in the direction of the camera. But they don’t, and we know why – because being around family just makes us happy. Who has time to sit still when there is fun to be had climbing trees, playing games, or splashing each other with water? Reunions are about getting together and watching the next generation carry on the beloved traditions that we’ve so enjoyed at long past family reunions.
Bryan Grossbauer is an actor, musician, former teacher and full-time stay at home dad to two children. He and his wife, Erin O’Callaghan, live in New Rochelle and enjoy traveling, hiking, and live music.