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It happens every year. The cars start filling the yard of the person who's the host for the clan gathering. Old ladies wearing, I kid you not, summer garden hats and short white gloves come traipsing up the yard holding potluck casserole dishes. I am sure that somewhere, you will find that god-awful fruit salad with tiny marshmallows in it. The trail of food and family will trickle in for about 2 days. And when it is all here, the mountain of food will be enough to feed a large army. Or a small extended family of mostly Cajuns. (Who, in case you don't know, like to EAT, cher!)

In years past, and even this year, it has always been the same. The stories come, and the food comes, and then there are more stories. Children running, basically "free" for the first times in their lives. We all know that with as many of us as there are around, nothing will happen to them. So they flit, like butterflies, from one sugary dessert to the next with abandon.

I live away from my extended family. I have my husband and my beautiful children. An estranged brother lives closeby, I see him possibly 2 times a year. Another brother has recently moved close to me, and he and his wife are a great source of comfort for me. But it's not "The Home". "The Home", where you grow up surrounded by beautiful green and jasmine in the air with the song of the night cicadas to keep you company through your slumber. It's not "The Home", where the comfort and security of my Mom and my Daddy are.

I am a grown woman, so I know in my head that I don't need my parents and my cousins and my aunts and my uncles and my grandparents and on and on...to be readily available to me all the time. But this is how I was raised. My family means a great deal to me, and I feel cut off.

Separated.

A woman alone in the world, with her family tree being blown to the four winds, desperately I try to keep up.
The leaves spin out of control,
and disappear from my sight as quickly as I can discern their shapes.
I want permanence.
I want something of grace and beauty
Something of what is left of my family.
That I can take home with me, and hopefully grow here.
So that my children will never know loneliness.
So that their children will know what it is like to grow up
surrounded by people who love you and will accept you for yourself.
No matter what. It's the least that I can do for them...
It's what MaMa would have done.

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