My first instinct is dread when it comes to family reunions. I felt it today. I had a minor sore throat, a headache; my elbow hurt. Symptoms of dread. There's always a good possibility that none of my sons and their families will show up, and that I will be made to feel responsible for this. "Where's your family?" aunts and sisters ask. I don't know. Maybe I forgot to invite them. They are adults. They can do what they want. Still, I feel responsible. I have failed somehow.
So I was relieved when the first people we saw in the parking lot were Charles and Erica and family. I was off the hook. I had some of my family at the Copier reunion. And I made sure people knew. I hauled Anne off and introduced her to the Dutch aunts. She was very gracious and polite about it, for which I was grateful. I also introduced Mira around when she was by my side.
My Dutch aunts and uncles are all in their eighties except for Henny, the youngest, who turns 78 this September. She is only twelve years older than I am. She used to take Gerard and me to primary on the bus in Utrecht. She would have been sixteen and seventeen. Rietje (Marie) said Gerard was her baby. She turned 85 last week. I walked from the parking lot with Govert, who uses a cane. He said he was following the prophet, meaning President Hinckley and his cane. "He's dead," I said. "Is that your plan?" He laughed. He has diabetes and has problems with the nerves in his feet. Floris is 82 and forgetful, although he knew who I was. They all have bad teeth. No one trims his nose hairs. Bad hair. Bad clothes. And yet they share an exuberance, an optimism that makes them instantly likable.
I liked seeing my cousins Anya and Pearl as well as Toni's daughter Jill, who is moving from Nebraska to Maryland, and who was one of my students at BYU. I met Kate Copier, Floris's daughter-in-law, who knows Brenda Zeller in my new ward. Old connections and new connections: I enjoyed myself. The Copier aunts and uncles are the last ones to call me Loesje or Loes or Loesie. I'm going to miss that when they're gone.