Saturday, October 6, 2012

Family Ties

Back in 1970, a year before Lloyd and I were married, his parents, sisters and I met his older half-sister for the first time.  Marjorie lived in the US and had somehow 'found' the family she never knew and came up to Canada to visit them.  Lloyd was away in California at the time so missed this event.  With her, Marjorie brought three of her children, the oldest of whom was 11-year old Debbie.  I took pictures of this family group back then, but don't have it with me right now.

Fast forward almost 40 years.  Through the magic of facebook, most of us have connected with Debbie's  daughter, Mkenzie, who had been living in North Carolina.  She would be Lloyd's great-niece.  This past summer Mkenzie, her husband, Anthony, and three daughters moved to Arizona. When she heard Lloyd and I would be here, she contacted Lloyd and arranged to meet us. 

So yesterday, her little family came to our place in Surprise and we spent the afternoon getting to know this long-lost branch of the family.

Mkenzie and Lloyd

Anthony, Mkenzie, Lily and Zoe
 We had a lovely visit with them.  The little girls were a joy to have around, and Anthony is such a patient and thoughtful man.  Mkenzie brought some photo albums that we looked through, searching for family resemblances.  Lloyd had stored a lot of historical pictures in albums on facebook so he was able to show Mkenzie some pictures of their common ancestor - her great grandfather who was Lloyd's father. Lloyd and Mkenzie exchanged family stories and both came away with a clearer understanding of family members they hadn't met before.

Families are interesting entities.  Not all lines are direct.  There are many re-routing of family members with different paths and directions taken.  There's a common bond that blends us all together though.  Whether it's the need to connect with other people who share common DNA or a search for someplace we belong and someone we belong to, finding a link to our common ancestor is an exciting event.  There seems to be a need to connect to people.  We see it all the time.

When our family moved to southern Alberta from Nova Scotia back in 1989 people we'd meet in the small town there immediately tried to trace us back to someone they knew.  "You must be related to the Hillspring MacKenzies" is something we often heard.  "No", we'd say, "We're from Nova Scotia".  People still wanted to connect us with people they knew.

This reaching out is alive and well among our children as well.  One of our daughters has begun a dialog reaching back over 15 years now with one of Lloyd's cousins in Ontario - one none of us has ever met but who has become an important part of Jenny's on-line life over the years. She has learned a lot about our family through him.

There's nothing quite as comforting, or exasperating sometimes, as belonging to a large extended family, but we wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

We're happy to welcome Mkenzie to our portion of the Clan MacKenzie.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Family is very important. I love that you got to connect with yet another part of yours. I have a large family and know how much it means.

Mickey said...

lovely blog Pat!
Now back to our TURKEY and Thanksgiving!
You could go out for turkey and cranberry sauce couldn't you?

Magpie said...

What a wonderful visit! I agree with your feelings about the need to connect with people. I guess you must be enjoying this weather we're having in Arizona now better than earlier this year. :)

RoeH said...

What fun! I love meeting new people. Even related ones. I just connected with a woman in Midway, Utah as 'kin' from my great grandfather. She's more distant than I am but still fun regardless.

Ellie said...

How wonderful it must be to meet up with family members you have never met before.
What a lovely post - i think it is very important to keep family connections. :)