Monday, September 7, 2009

It's All Relative

Life is harder now for my last surviving aunt and uncle. Her hearing is impaired, and his eyesight is nearly gone. Because of multiple physical problems, they both move slowly. They were always sociable people with lots of friends, but they’ve outlived most of their peers, so visitors and phone calls are limited. Ventures outside their home are mostly restricted to doctor appointments.

Still, they remain cheerful and interested in life.

Aunt Wanda is my mother’s sister, the fifth of six children. Two brothers died in infancy, and her younger brother was killed in World War II. Throughout their lives, the three sisters formed a tight bond. At 87, she has now lived longer than her two older sisters.

I believe Uncle Cope is the last of his family as well. He is 91.

Visiting Aunt Wanda and Uncle Cope is a special treat. I like hearing family stories once again. I’m grateful for Uncle Cope’s interest in politics, world news, and theology; his sharp mind keeps track of current events and ideas far better than mine does. I love the way Aunt Wanda still wants to know all about me and my family. I enjoy their bickering. (Who wouldn’t bicker after living with the same person for 67 years?)

I wish I didn’t live 1300 miles away from them. I am so blessed by their presence in my life, even far away.
Here’s a photo of my nephew Jesse, who was home for a short while before starting his senior year of college. He’s an incredible young man.

Pictured here with Uncle Cope is my sister-in-law Pam, who takes such wonderful care of me whenever I visit southern California. We go back a very long ways; she was my high school friend two decades before she married my brother.

I didn't see much of my brother on this trip. He's a firefighter, and he was called out on a forest fire the week I was there. (Pam and I saw the movie "The Time Traveler's Wife" together, and she mentioned that being married to Ken is much like that; he often has to leave on a moment's notice.)
I didn't get a photo of Ken or my nephew Jeremy. I saw Jeremy, but he’s 18 and you have to catch him on the run. (But if you look at the pictures on the refrigerator behind Pam on the photo below, you'll get a glimpse of them.)

I visited my sister in Colorado between the Gabfest with my friends and the trip to California, but this blurry photo of her cooking with her granddaughter is the only picture I took. We look more alike as we get older. This time we even had very similar haircuts.

I did get an interesting photo at the granddaughter's school. Every elementary school needs a sign like this.

I missed getting pictures of my brother-in-law and nephew Andy, but I did take some great pictures of the new puppy. Isn’t he cute? (Even if he does chew on the legs of the kitchen table.)

I like my relatives. Even the dog.


smeade said...

Ah, family is a treasure. I miss all the stories my grandmother would tell and watching her make kolaches. If only I would have paid more attention when I was younger. Nice pics, Jeannie. It looks like you had a great time. :)

Oklahoma Granny said...

What a lovely family! That little guy, the puppy, is way cute too.

Jeanie said...

Jeannie, thanks for writing about your visit with our relatives. It brought back wonderful memories of our trip to California a few years ago.