My grandmother turns 90 this week. This weekend we had a big celebration to mark the occasion.

It was lovely, and odd, to see so many people I grew up with whom I haven’t seen for over a decade. Some of my cousins were there not only with children I’d never met but spouses too. It was a whole day of introductions, ‘how are you adjusting’ and ‘where are you living’ and ‘are you happy to be back again’. So much small talk. But it did give us something to talk about.

As children my siblings and cousins and I spent a lot of time together. Every holiday marked a family gathering and summer brought camping trips and excursions together. Since we’ve all grown up though those close ties have slackened and now we find ourselves strangers with a common history and relations, making small talk and trying to find some common ground. Perhaps the answer is to spend more time together and build some.

One of my sisters mentioned her difficulty in finding anything new to say. Still home with the kids, still home educating, still taking them to music lessons. I wondered what I’ll say in a few years when my children are the age of hers. Something in me has always balked at the though of being one of those parents who always (only?) talk about their kids. And yet, my life right now consists of being with my kids. There are other things: car & house hunting, knitting, I’m speaking to some highschool students later this week – but even then, how much of that is of interest? How much also the deeper things which are important to me but aren’t always shared?

It’s no wonder parents tend to surround themselves with other parents and people with similar interests and lifestyles. Time to build some community.