by Susanne Marie

As always when I am about to write an article, I spend a lot of time thinking before I ever commit any thought to paper. I look at what is happening in my life and think about conversations and interactions I have had with people to see if any theme becomes apparent. This time it was easy.

Over the course of a few days, I had conversations with many family members. It is not like this every week, but by a beautiful coincidence I spoke with each of my three sons, with each of their partners and to all five of my grandchildren. Within that same few days I also spoke to each of my four brothers and sisters. Not only all of those but a number of my cousins near and far called or made contact.

Wow! Almost two years ago I wrote about Celebration of Friendship. Now for the Celebration of Family. I am truly grateful for all of my family so I will relate a few things I love about my family and the way we celebrate life.

I have to start by going back to my parents. One of the highlights of our year was the three week caravan holiday back in the earlier days of caravanning - especially with a family with five children! Somehow we all managed to cram in to our modest vehicle and set off for an adventure towing a small caravan. These led to most of our family being bitten by the travel bug.

One of the greatest memories was our frequent visits to my mother’s cousins, who seemed to live all over Victoria mainly on farms. They were some of the most welcoming and hospitable people I have ever met. We were welcomed with open arms, had country meals, overnight stays and were introduced to the wonders of farm life. Meeting first cousins led to meeting second and third cousins and cousins once removed. We are still in touch with many of those still alive.

I have brothers and sisters in Sydney, Melbourne, South Western Victoria and one in Adelaide. We still see each other to celebrate special occasions such as “O” birthdays and special anniversaries. We have travelled in crazy ways half across Australia to meet together to celebrate in places such as the Flinders Ranges and Harrow, Victoria. On one occasion three of us left Adelaide in the morning (after one sister had driven from the far north of South Australia). We drove to Melbourne and picked up another sister then drove overnight (battling semis) to arrive in Sydney at six am, quickly donned wigs and costumes and knocked on the door of my oldest brother whose 50th birthday it was at 6am and sang a song to him we had composed overnight. We shared much laughter and fun together before returning home the next day.

My sister and I who are still in Adelaide take part once a year in something we have named Cuzauntmas. It used to be a gathering of the new generation of cousins and their children near Christmas (Cuzmas), but now they include us as we are the only other members of my family left in Adelaide. It is always a fun day.

All of this does not mean we have never had a disagreement or a problem. We have, as well as our share of deaths of close loved ones, of divorces and remarriages. Through all of this, we also realise the strength and value of being part of a family that shares strong bonds of love and respect for our differing points of view.

I feel so fortunate too that my three sons, their wonderful partners and beautiful families are all in Adelaide. Some have spent time living in other parts of the world, but at the moment all reside in Adelaide and we see each other on a regular basis, in small and larger groups. What joy it is to talk to and spend time with my five precious Grandchildren. I would need to write a book to share the wonderful times that we all spend together.

Of course within families, there are sometimes disagreements or other tense situations that happen. Because we see the bond we have as so important, we work through any issues that arise and choose to put differences aside. Love and respect for one another’s differences and similarities is of prime importance in being able to sustain good relationships.

I know there are many who are not so lucky within their family, but for me, I feel that the more love we can give to one another and the more we are willing to respect others for their differences and to allow them the space to follow their own chosen paths, the better our world will be. Celebrate and cherish those you love today!!

Susanne Marie is a Theta Healing® Master; Certificate of Science in Theta Healing®; DipTeaching (Prim); Dip Health Sciences(Remedial Massage); Dip Oriental Massage; Healer and Teacher of Theta Healing® for many years.

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