Family. Like branches on a tree, we all grow in different directions, but our roots keep us all together.
Flying via Dallas in an epic 22 hour journey to Boston from Sydney, followed by a 1.5 hour drive to New Hampshire, I found myself standing on the doorstep of a white weatherboard house on the outskirts of Amherst. There was pitch darkness all around me, except for the porch light, which at first I found to be very unnerving given that – being a city-dweller – it had been a very long time since I was surrounded by such complete darkness and wilderness.
Our Air BNB rental was a very sweet lodge attached to our host’s main house. Originally a barn or cabin built in the 1700’s, the owner’s had lovingly and tenderly renovated the space to keep all of it’s charm and rustic beauty whilst adding a few modern luxuries such as new hardwood floors, a modern fitted bathroom and (almost finished) kitchen. The feel of the place instantly put me in to holiday mode so I braved the darkness and went outside again to fill my lungs with the fresh air of the country-side. Glancing upwards, the blanket of stars across the night’s sky made me catch my breath. It was magical, and I found myself hoping I would wake up in the morning to a deer, moose or even a bear outside my bedroom window!
Morning came, and my mother, her twin sister, my brother and I got dressed and talked about the week to come. This week was to be very special for us. We were about to have a long overdue family reunion.
It had been 25 years since the last time I had seen most of our U.S-based family. I had been just a little girl the last time I was here in New Hampshire. When my Uncle pulled up in the 7-seater suburban I started to get butterflies in my stomach. Thoughts like ‘I hope they like me!’ started plugging away in my head as we drove through the quaint colonial township of Amherst to my Uncle & Aunt’s house.
The week that followed was truly special.
Plenty of big hearty family dinners, day trips to the seaside and more than a few trips to amazing ice cream parlours, it was the kind of week that I didn’t think I would be lucky enough to experience in my lifetime. In England, our family on my mother’s side is very small and we all live all over the place. Christmas was usually an intimate 2 to 4 person affair for us growing up and, whilst I still have extremely fond memories of those times, I had always been a little bit envious of friends who would come back from their holiday’s with tales of their massive family gatherings with their crazy nan, kooky auntie, and hilarious uncle Joe etc.
My heart felt full and warm by the end of the week with our amazing family, all grown-up now, and we all excitedly made plans to have our next family reunion in 2018 in Maui, Hawaii!
I am lucky girl.