Today was the annual Schwarzbach family reunion in Houston. A reunion I’ve luckily been able to attend for the last 9 or 10 years; this is equal to the number of years that I have been acquainted with my birth family. I love the fact that there is an annual family reunion. It is a way to stay connected and for me, a way to get to know the many family members that attend. It has taken me awhile to get to know the many participants but I am finally comfortable with a majority of the names of the attendees! I would love to visit more often but it has not worked out for me to travel to Houston more than once a year. Knowing that there will be a family reunion on the 4th Sunday of June gives me a date to target in planning a trip.
The reunion is always held at my birth Dad’s house. Year after year, I am in awe of the amount of work that Jess puts into getting ready for and cleaning up after the deluge of guests. He graciously offers up his home as the hub for the reunion and then cooks and prepares for an army. On top of his preparations, most families bring a dish to share so there is a plenitude of food! This is no small reunion either; the Schwarzbach family is a large family and the reunion is well-attended each year. It is nice that Jess has a pool. While one group of attendees sit in the living room of Jess’ house, there is also a group in the pool. This gives everyone a little more space! I tend to straddle the groups. There are certain people I really enjoy talking to and some of them are in the living room and some of them are in the pool. It is a great convenience for me that I stay with Jess because it makes it easier for me to mingle with the two groups.
As a late addition to the family, I really had no expectations for the type of reactions I might receive as they got to know me. I was comfortable with who I was and was willing to give space to anyone who might need it in adjusting to my presence. I was actually willing to leave the family in peace if they preferred keeping the past in the past but I was fully embraced as a family member. My inclusion felt seamless. They have been genial and welcoming and I’ve never had to do anything other than be myself! I have four siblings that I am getting to know and they have been especially gracious and accommodating. Normally only my two sisters can attend the reunion since they live in Houston but one brother was able to come this year. He brought his three kids and they promptly attached themselves to Lucy. I loved watching the interactions between the cousins! I was also able to get to know him a little better in addition to catching up with my two sisters. The reunion was another big success and a good time was had by all….