A club moss. I took this photograph at the 2009 Reunion held in Thompson, Pennsylvania.

So many thoughts, so many thoughts...

Twice a year my father's brothers and their families (my aunts, my cousins, and now as times goes on, cousin's spouses and partners), spend time together. In winter, it's just an afternoon and dinner around Christmastime, and in the summer, a weekend or occasionally a week -- The Mackow Family Reunion, we call it. "The Reunion" for short.

Once Jared and I drove from Michigan to Virginia to attend. In the weeks previous, Jared had a terrible ear infection from swimming in a public lake (I had contracted Montezuma's revenge from the same lake. I know it was that lake.). With no health insurance I had called around for the cheapest doctor's appointment (a first appointment, the 6 minute one where they get to know their new patient, is expensive). Knowing we had no insurance, the doctor cobbled together some free antibiotic samples, totaling a week's worth of pills. The infection dragged on, and finally, it came time to head to The Reunion.

Our truck had no air conditioning. So, we drove with the windows up because the wind bothered Jared's ear. We tumbled out of the pickup truck into my uncle's driveway a half day later, filthy, sweaty, the truck cab rank with our body odor. Hugs went around, as well as loving exclamations such as: "You guys need a shower!" Jared explained, and my uncle, a doctor, produced an ear scope from his sleeve, peered into Jared's ear, remarked how the Michigan doctor was not too smart to give pills, and wrote a prescription for ear drops.

There's something about family, there's a little notch left just for you. No one else fills it. Conversations pick up, doesn't matter that it's been 6 months. You can leave your infant son in someone's care and drift into the house, catch up with someone, grab a drink. I suppose I'm lucky, having been to other people's family gatherings.

Now that my kin are all in their distant homes, I feel the rainy day. My husband, son and I usually have an energetic household, but today was slow. We spent the afternoon together. We watched our son crawl around the house, pulling himself up, and sitting down. We sang silly songs and ate dinner (my son ate Aunt C's fruit salad, I made a tomato soup from E's & L's extra tomato harvest. No doubt, the rest of my extended family ate the leftover corn and is flossing now).

My brother and mother are traveling far today, bringing my brother to his very, very distant home. Before he left, we spent a while sitting on the porch talking, while my son slept in my brother's arms. It's a rainy day.