I’m in New Zealand at the moment, for work, but I managed to sneak in a visit to some relatives on the way. There is a shared experience in visiting family that makes me wish I did it a bit more often.
I had dinner at Teacher aunt’s house with various other relatives. Mathematical cousin (who is in a stage of late teenagerdom that means he doesn’t talk, at least with family), was seen laughing at a story of his late father accidentally blowing up Artistic aunt’s lemon tree in a chemical experiment that was more successful than expected.
Artistic aunt and I had a long discussion about the pattern of grey hair in our family, and whether I would be able to keep my striking Indira Ghandi- like white streak at one temple, or whether it would be a short-lived precursor to full greyness.
Croupier cousin suddenly struck me with how many mannerisms he shared with one of my brothers.
Earlier, visiting my grandmother, Artistic aunt and I shared a few glances that my grandmother was unable to interpret – I was proving an almost adequate substitute for my mother in sharing some family exasperations with my grandmother’s hobby-horses.
After all the visiting was finished, Artistic aunt drove me to the hotel where the work part of my visit started. And while I was wishing I did this more often, I think part of the magic was the sudden flashes of shared understanding that would seem ordinary if we saw each other every week, instead of every few years.