I grew up in a large extended family. My mother was one of 5 siblings, all of whom were married with kids, and three of the five families, including mine, lived within a mile of each other. So aunts, uncles, and cousins were always around.
Whenever someone was sick or in the hospital, the family horde gathered daily until life returned to normal. Hospital waiting rooms were taken over by the clan. I’m sure there were times when the adults wished for some privacy, or at least quiet, but I am also sure the feeling of security in family was writ large.
I remembered this all with a mixture of contentment at the memory and loneliness at my current situation, as I sat by myself for hours in the hospital watching nervously for the surgeon to appear and report on my husband.
Times are very different now. My kids and my extended family don’t live anywhere near. Unlike my mom and my aunts of decades ago, everyone today has a daily schedule filled with work, volunteer commitments, and parent or grandparent duties. I, generally, am amongst the worst offenders of an overscheduled life.
So times are indeed different now, but also much improved in many respects. We have other ways to show our commitment to one another. I finally realized that I could post on Facebook, so I did. I kind of thought to myself, “Well, let’s just see what happens. My aunts aren’t here to keep me company and cheer me up, but maybe there are 21st century ‘aunts and uncles’ out there.”
Wow. And I thought I came from a large extended family. I had no concept.
The “likes” and the comments poured in. Chats and texts poured in. Emails poured in. I really felt that old sense of security that I was not alone.
So to all of you out there: Thank you! You may not think of yourself this way, but to me you are my Aunt Shirleys and Dots, and I so appreciate you keeping me virtual company.
Oh and by the way, Aunt Dot always had a cookie jar with fantastic chocolate chip cookies in it. Aunt Shirley always had some great cake around. Just sayin’.
©2015 Margery Leveen Sher
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