This weekend I'm traveling to Minnesota to celebrate the 80th birthday of my last living grandparent, my maternal grandmother. She's been widowed for the past 14 years, and has played a quiet matriarch. She called together the clan for this party, and put strong leverage on her children and their children to attend - it's the most obvious demand of respect and attention she has ever made. As far as I know, it's the only one.
But I'm glad she's made it. Both branches of my family have a tradition of intense sibling conflict, and two of her boys (my uncles) have been at odds since before I was born. We all feel this contentious issue, but I, for one, would like to see some face-to-face, which has the greatest likelihood of relieving the tension.
I really admire her on this. Of all my grandparents, I'm least like her. I get my stubborn, headstrong nature from her deceased husband, self-doubt from my paternal grandmother and worry from my dad's dad. I respect her gentle nature and her subtle way of making suggestions. I'm hoping she will harness these traits to bring the clan together, finally. One of my uncles is a talented artist, and I'd very much like to meet him, but cannot arrange for this alone.


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