I met up with my cousin and his wife yesterday for lunch. They currently reside in Bermuda and are in town for a few weeks having just become grandparents. Mike and I have not had much in way of contact since our teenage years. A lot can happen in 40 years and you know, many things can stay the same.
Upon greeting each other I felt the same camaraderie I always have. That had not changed. We are both the same age and come from a family that certainly had its challenges, and I am being extremely polite with this analogy. When my portion of the family disintegrated there was a general breakdown on every front. Faces and places we once went no longer seemed available.
At that time I didn’t understand the deep fractures that existed in my family. That was my ‘normal’. It was all I knew. But then, when you are being pushed to the edge of reason and then beyond it is hard to see the world around you with any balance to it. And there are those paths that open up before us and god knows I’ve made some really poor choices over the years. What I will say is that I learned from them took the good from it, and moved on.
What I have come to know and fully accept is that nobody owes me anything nor I them. We are answerable and accountable to the face in the mirror. We make the choice of who we are to become. Of course this journey is influenced by all those that touch our lives.
So getting together with Mike yesterday felt much like it did when we were younger. Just this time the path each of us took from the last time we saw each other went in various directions. Still there we were, a welcome comfort from an old friend. I saw my first James Bond movie with him. (We discussed which one it was and I am now thinking that it was Goldfinger) We left the theatre that evening both in spy mode and became convinced on the long walk back to our grandmother’s house that we were being pursued. With ‘James Bond’ like maneuvers we ran diversions through the streets of Gibsons until we ‘lost them’.
Bursting into the house breathless we reported this event to our parentals who simply shook their heads exasperated and somewhat annoyed. Gotta love the imagination of children.
We had sleep-overs, we scaled trees, ravines and crawled up onto Gospel Rock in Gibsons and talked about anything and everything. Both of us shy and awkward in our youth we have both blossomed quite nicely now.
Later I considered this re-connection and realized that having shared a bond in our formative years we have always been connected. That cannot be taken away. We found a comfort in each others company as children. We witnessed things that children should never have to. Regardless of this both of us moved on and became successful on our life path.
My relationship with him growing up gave me a sense of self. I could relax and just be. When your home life is built upon fear and the daily threat of it consuming you having those moments when I could exhale fed a gentle heart.
I saw a bit of myself in him at that time. There was a need, that search for solace and acceptance that we both found in each others company.
I enjoyed meeting his wife. Again, there was an immediate comfort and familiarity with the woman. Here we are at 55 years of age. We made it through. May the friendship we enjoyed as children continue.
Mike and Gisele, it was an absolute pleasure connecting with you yesterday. May it remain as such. Blessings to you both.