You can’t live with them or without them. You can’t help being like them. You’ve got them for life.
For the first time in ten years, my extended family on my Dad’s side were altogether to celebrate my Grandad’s 90th birthday. Last time we were together it was for his 80th, and this time we had three new additions in the form of my sister’s husband and her two children. What, we wondered, would the table look like in another ten years? And who would be there?
Hale and hearty, my Grandad presided over us all with great pleasure, while we all observed how much we resemble each other, as if we should all be entirely different, and not similar at all.
‘You’ve got the same nose.’
‘You laugh like your mum.’
‘You both scrunch your face up the same way.’
The unconscious gestures and habits you make which you think are your own, but which are somehow genetically predetermined through four generations.
It’s an achievement to see your children have children and for them to then have children. Our youngest guest was two, and as my Grandad listed off all the things which happened in the year of his birth, it struck me that the world can change entirely around you, and yet your life can flow like a constant thread. My little niece’s world will be entirely different again when she’s 90 years old. But I’m sure the conversations and observations of family similarities and differences will be the same.
Someone will have my nose, scrunch their face up and fold their arms the way I do, the way my Grandad does, whether we’re here to see it or not.
Which kind of blows my mind, a little bit, and makes me grateful for the lovely people I’m related to.