[pullquote-left]“Our main objective is to just be together.”[/pullquote-left]I’m one of 13 children, number nine to be exact. I have seven brothers and five sisters. We all have a lot of pride in our family, and relish opportunities to tell someone about it. In response to being asked, “What? 12 brothers and sisters?” I’ll usually casually say, “yep, a baker’s dozen.”
My mother has 27 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. We make an effort to stay connected, holding family reunions every three or four years, which gives us the opportunity to meet new arrivals — spouses, significant others, and especially babies. One of the best family events I participate in is an annual gathering with my four (living) sisters. We’ve made it a tradition to spend a long weekend together. We call it Sista Palooza.
A few weeks ago we had our seventh gathering, this time in Austin. As usual, we spent most of our time visiting, eating, drinking, laughing, catching up, and reminiscing — with an occasional interruption to see a sight or two. Usually we plan to do more than we accomplish, but our main objective is to just to be together. Our ages span from 47 to 61, so we are still learning things about each other that we didn’t know. I am blessed to have good relationships with my beautiful sisters. They are like best friends, but even better.
During the previous two gatherings, we were forced to think about what Sista Palooza would be like with fewer of us attending. One of my sisters had a cancer scare, and though she is now clear, the idea still looms. This tempered our typical revelry (which is pretty tame in our children’s eyes). We all walked a little more carefully, hugged a little longer, and held hands more often. Life is precious; live it to the fullest, but stop to appreciate the ones you love and the time you have together.