The Meaning of Family
By: Joey Uva Enoch
I had a lot of time this past weekend to think. I thought a lot about family, my family, the family that Trevor and I have.
Trevor’s dad and step-mother have a weekend every year for their grandchildren called “Cousin Camp.” There are no parents allowed at Cousin Camp, only the cousins and grandparents. Grace and I headed up the central coast of California to San Luis Obispo on Friday after work so she could attend the event. If you’re from California at all, you know what kind of nightmare the freeways can be -to anywhere- on a Friday after work. As Grace and I drove, I could see she was very excited. I have talked with her a few times about Cousin Camp and the fact that I would not be with her Saturday due to the strict “No Parents” policy!
Much to my surprise, the traffic wasn’t bad. About two hours into the drive I told Grace we should probably stop and get some dinner. Grace replied back with, “Can we just keep driving? I can eat when I get to Nana & Papa’s house. I want to see my cousins!” We kept driving and made it there sixty five minutes later, arriving around 7:40pm. Grace was the last cousin to arrive.
Trevor’s parents had many plans for that Saturday. The kids got to see a magician that came to the house, go on a train ride, have a picnic, enjoy the hot tub, go kayaking, watch movies, and eat picnic-style dinners. I can’t pretend to know all that the cousins did because of course, I was not invited.
While Grace was having her Cousin Camp time, I spent my time in Cambria. Trevor had to work all weekend so he stayed home and took care of the dogs. I truly love Cambria, nestled on the central coast, a quite place with many artists and a very laid back feel.
On Saturday evening, I went down to the boardwalk and watched the sunset. As I sat there in all the beauty and peace of the moment, I thought about family, what that means and how this generation is experiencing and encompassing a much different meaning than our grandparents or their grandparents did. I thought about all the kids at “Cousin Camp.” They are cousins through brothers, sisters, step-parents, and friends who have become family. All of the children know Trevor’s parents as their grandma and grandpa; they know all of the parents of the other kids as their aunts and uncles. These children are growing up in love, with love, blood relation or not. It made me think of us adults who sometimes have a hard time and let titles get in the way. Sometimes I wish all adults thought like that of a four-, five-, or six-year-old: that we are family because we love each other, because our heart lets us be.
When I picked up Grace on Sunday around lunch time, I sat at the dining room table and listened as some of the cousins shared their joy of seeing the magician, the train ride, and all that they got to experience. As I got Grace’s stuff together and packed the car, Leslie (Nana) came out with Grace’s cousin Mallory. We were about to leave when Mallory, who is about half as tall as Grace, came up to the car with her head just at window height to give Grace a kiss goodbye. My heart melted. As we drove off, Grace said, “She was so small last time I saw her and now she is a bigger girl and speaks so well. I love her!” There in front of me, a three-year-old and seven-year-old, showing me the true meaning of family.