Years. 20 some years had gone by without seeing, meeting, knowing my family. I think the last time I had seen the majority of them was when I was the tender age of 9. Why you ask? Distance.
It is what it is.... long story short my mom fell in love with a maritimer (who wouldn't? ;) ) and alas, she was brought way out east, across the country from where she grew up. Raised my brother and I in the beautiful countryside, we could only afford to go out west a couple times in my childhood and therein lies where we stood this past spring. Realizing....
It was time.
Finally time for us to make the trek the the great beautiful land of British Colombia and reconnect with those who are our blood, who make up so much of who I am today, regardless of the miles in between. My mothers side of the family would finally get the chance to meet my handsome husband as well as my brothers beautiful wife. It was somewhat nerve-wracking to think; "I cannot believe that I'm going to meet family for what will feel like the first time and I'm not gonna lie.... I'm nervous!" An odd feeling, seeing as how we are made up of the same DNA..but alas, that's what distance does.
The fortunate thing for us however, is that we live in the day and age of social media and of course, that means that we get to come in 'cyber-contact' with family. Heck my grandma has facebook and yeah, she knows how to use it folks. Do NOT underestimate that woman! That's ma gal.
When we all arrived in glorious Penticton BC, the feeling was unanimous. We all needed this. To hug, to see each other eye to eye, to reconnect in a way that no social media could replicate. And for a moment, I was mad at myself. Why? For the fact that I was content with this thing called 'facebook.' I actually thought it fulfilled what was needed in order to be 'close' to family. "Okay" I thought, "we have distance but hey! We can actually chat and see each others family through the web!" That's great right?
No. It's not.
Although I cannot refute that it has it's purpose ( I mean hey, it was the means of enabling us to converse and decide on a date for our reunion) But being real for a moment, it's also lead to the world we live in now, one where there's more lonely hearted humans than ever. Most are timid at even looking someone in the eye and having a friendly conversation, let alone picking up the phone to call someone. Yes. I'm guilty as charged. Miss socialite hates the phone. Sorry... it is what it is. But at the end of the day I realized too, that no matter the "social" contacts I make and the friendships I develop, there's nothing, nothing more important than the strong emotional connection you make with your family, seeing them face to face and hearing them tell stories. Having that connection with those who are the reason you were born into this world is irreplaceable. Imagine I could have gone my life without the laughter, the holding of my cousins precious new baby. Without photographing these moments that heck, wouldn't have even happened. What was I thinking? Facebook is nothing without humans. But we humans are empty without the true emotional presence of one another, in flesh. Not on this worldwide web.
As cliché as this sounds... family is important folks. And before you dismiss it...ask yourself. What and who makes me who I am today? Do I truly appreciate my family, past and present? It's a fortunate thing that I have my family here. And although we are spread across this gigantic country we call home, there's no doubt that the level of love and kindness felt between us all could not be replicated amongst any other human beings. This is family. This is blood. I am ever so fortunate to have been able to give the gift back to them of these photos....these memories. Never neglect your family...you never know when you'll see them again, or how much distance may come between.
I love you all so much.
Grandma, thank you for giving us all this opportunity to be together. While it took awhile to have the details come together, it was so worth it.
Aunt Linda, thank you for not killing me with my camera and letting me take some photos of you :) You're more beautiful than you even know. I hope you see what I see in the photos of you.
Auntie Lois and Uncle Marcus, seeing the two of you together through my lense was pure love. I adore you two and the relationship you both have.
Uncle Dale and Uncle Barry, I absolutely know now where my humour comes from. My goodness I could have laughed for days and days with you both. Never change. Uncle Dale, you and Kim are so sweet together. I know you've got a good one. Keep her! Oh, and by the way, I know a great wedding photographer whenever you need! ;). (sorry couldn't resist)
Cousin Dana & Eric, You both have such a kind loving way about you. Dana, how you've fallen completely in love with Sara is one of the most precious relationships I saw that weekend. I really cannot wait to see her grow up and hopefully, it'll be in person in the future!
Cousin Cari & Mike, when you came to visit us in Montreal during your anniversary week, I couldn't believe how much we (Cari and I ) were alike, how we could have been cut from the same cloth in some respects. I wish we lived closer. And btw - Ben and I are completely smitten with Phoenix and Kalvyn. You and Mike are raising your children wonderfully. Please give them hugs and kisses from us!
Corey and Jacqueline- I am so happy you guys got to come as well and actually encouraged this whole family reunion from the start. If it wasn't for you I'm not sure it would have happened when it did. I am soo thankful to you guys for this. Thank you for viewing family as such an importance. It was such a blast having my closest family there.
Mom & Dad - Eeesh! Where do I start? You guys helped to make sure that Ben and I could be there. We could NOT have done it without you and we're forever indebted. Mom, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for caring so much about this important event in our lives. We couldn't have missed it for the world and are so happy to have the memories that we do.
So here are a few images that I took over the course of the 3 days. It was so fun to be the photographer for the weekend, and seeing my family for what felt like the first time.
Until next time...enjoy folks xx