I realize that I’m writing this at the back end of my vacation, but since I haven’t posted since March, I think you, dear reader will forgive the faux pas.
I’m back home in the Hudson Valley of NY where I grew up. I’m a little further south than where I actually lived, but that’s due to the fact that my family lives more in the Newburgh to Westchester area than the upper Valley near Kingston.
Still and all, it’s been a good trip. With the pandemic happening last year, any trips were canceled due to health concerns, and now with the Delta variant becoming more of a problem in places, our decision to use AirBNBs to stay in, rather than hotels, ended up being the right choice. Interaction with the public at large has been mostly at arm’s length, as everyone for the most part is still social distancing, some are wearing masks again, and others have never stopped.
This trip has mainly been one of connecting and reconnecting with my ever-enlarging family. On the way here, we stopped in Syracuse to visit with my maternal cousins, who I haven’t seen since 1999. While there, I was able to meet my first cousin once removed (my cousin’s daughter) whom I’d never met. The boggling thing about that is, they only live two hours away! Between work, responsibilities, and just life, the years have gone merrily by and we just haven’t gotten together. Every Christmas we’d exchange cards and write in them that in the next year we needed to get together. But we never did. That oversight has now been rectified.
While here in the Hudson Valley, I managed to reconnect with my estranged brother and his family. He has lived in Westchester County for the past 20 years and has a 13 yr old daughter that I’d never met. I knew she existed, and what her name was, but I was unable (for a variety of reasons) to get there to see them. Too, there’s been bad blood over the years, (don’t ask) and reasons why I didn’t want to go. There was one particular reason I did need to go, and that was to collect the family photo album he’d had in his possession since we cleaned out our parent’s house. Up to now, the only photos I had were a couple of when we were children and one or two of our parents. I’ve had NO baby pictures at all, and that’s been a sore point of contention for me. As I get older, I want to be able to have that family history to rely on and share with my birth mother, with whom I’ve recently been connected.
Finally, I was able to meet and interact with my half-sister and her family. When I was reconnected with my birth mother, I managed to meet my half-brother and his family (well, most of them) and get to know them a wee bit. My half-brother is a workaholic and is more than a little introverted, so both meeting and getting to know him have been problematic. My wife and I had set up a get-together for the family at our second AirBNB, but for whatever reason, my half-brother decided at the last minute to decline. His children are older than his sister’s (college-age versus toddlers) so getting together that side of the family might have proved a bit more difficult. Even so, it was a good time. I got to meet my brother-in-law and my nephews are both amazing and hilarious. Watching them play caused me to remember how my brother and I played and interacted.
I would definitely say this trip has been a success. I have a treasure trove of memories for the future and a box full of slides to digitize and share with my birth mother, and my other family so they can see what has been obscured these many decades.
Going home will be good (the beds in these AirBNBs are murder!), but I’ve had a really good time here too. Vacations are both tiring and awesome.