My Family Reunion

 © Nicole Bradshaw Photography 2017; The music hall at Northwester Oklahoma University in Alva, Oklahoma; Albuquerque Family Photographer

When anyone mentions the phrase ‘family reunion’ most people think of the most boring, long, and hot day of their summer. You probably conjure images of almost-ancient distant relatives pinching your cheeks as a child, your parents reminding you to play quietly while the grown-ups talk, and cousins that you barely remember from the year before. But, have you gone to this same reunion as an adult? I have. And this is why I went. 

I went because I wanted to spend time with my mom and grandma. Every year, my mom drives my grandma from our home here in Los Lunas to an even smaller town in Northwest Oklahoma- Alva. Alva, Oklahoma is the small town where my grandmother and her siblings spent their teenage years- they're actually from a much, much smaller town called Capron that's about 15 minutes Northeast of Alva. Anyway, it’s about a 10 Hour car ride, and during that time we visit, share stories, and talk about all manner of things. It’s one of the few times we get to do this without husbands and children hanging about. And, I cherish those hours in the car with two of my best friends.  

I went because I want to get to know my relatives as an adult. These people we felt were scary as children are actually very sweet people who love to share their stories and memories of years gone by. They cherish the time spent with younger generations of the family. They have not changed- I have grown up.  

I went because time is short to gather information about my family from these people to pass on to my own children some day. To identify and record the people in old photographs that I have that my mom and grandma don’t know. To learn the stories and traditions that make us who we are.  

I went because I don’t ever want to forget who I am, and so that I can teach my children who they are and where our family came from.