Monday, July 23, 2012

My Wealthy Family

Last weekend, I attended a family reunion on my dad's side of the family (my first, and I don't recall there being another one). It was a big success, and I see more in our future. On Mom's side of the family, we have a family reunion every two years and have for more than 20 years.  It's only recently that I've come to realize that many families don't have reunions at all, so I have an increased appreciation for ours. In a way, we are "richer" for them. 

In that same spirit of appreciation, I thought I would share the graphic that my cousin's illustrator/designer daughter, Carli Ihde, created for the t-shirts for our upcoming reunion for Mom's side of the family.  The design (inspired by the American Gothic classic and a family photo) depicts my mom's parents, Laura and Bill.  Isn't it awesome?!

For those curious, my grandma had a very green thumb and was known for her glorious flower gardens. Grandpa (known for his sense of humor) was a farmer, and the bird on his shoulder is reminiscent of a pet parakeet that talked a lot and was known to exclaim, "What the hell, Bill!" among other gems.

My grandparents are long gone, but they have left a legacy of love and talents to treasure. My mom has her parents' gifts of faith, sense of humor, two green thumbs, and her singing voice.  Sadly, I'm missing the gardening gene, but my whole family loves to sing, and we've laughed til tears ran down our faces many, many times.  I never even met my grandpa, but I strongly suspect we would have gotten along very well. Being at family reunions, it's easy to feel the presence of my grandparents and to imagine how proud they would be to see their gifts shared. Without these reunions (and yes, a little help from Facebook) I wouldn't really know my cousins or feel connected to my extended family.

I've never received a dime of inheritance from my grandparents (They had little to give, that way.) but I know that I am wealthy beyond measure as their granddaughter.  Every time I sing with my cousins, say a prayer, or appreciate the beauty of a bloom, my family weaves another thread in the fabric of our family's unity...

...and that is a priceless gift.

What gifts have you inherited from your grandparents?

To see more of Carli's art, visit her Deviant Art page.

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