What Once Was: What ever happened to THOSE McIntosh’s?

If ever it comes to one final wish,
to one final hope,
mine would be for a moment,
just a moment,
of what once was.


15 years ago I brought a boy to a family Christmas. A McIntosh family Christmas. For those of you who’ve never been and for those of you who have forgotten what they were like, let me paint the picture for you…

A large living room in Grandma and Grandpa Mac’s house – but still not large enough for the 30+ members of the family – was filled to the brim with brothers, sisters, wives, husbands, aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, nieces, nephews, grandkids, great-grandkids all talking and joking and laughing and sharing and asking questions and telling stories. Jay was new to the group and it was interesting to get an outsider’s perspective on our clan. Some of the observations were obvious, and let’s face it, whether they were positive or negative doesn’t matter, we still can’t really deny them. But one observation he made to me that night I had never really thought about before that night…nor have I forgotten it since that night. He said he couldn’t believe how close we were. He’d been around big families before, including his own step family, but he’d never seen one where everyone talked to everyone else.

It’s true, I’ve seen other large families and they mostly have pockets of people who talk to each other but none so universally close as we all were.

That time…those McIntosh’s…it all seems like a fairy tale now. Perhaps I’m looking back with rose-colored glasses or backwards through the eyes of someone younger with fewer biases and remembering with nostalgia rather than with intellect. But now, when I think of us, I see sisters who don’t speak to each other anymore. I have cousins whose children I’ve never met. People whose houses I’ve never been to, and they don’t come to mine. There are people in our family who are afraid to share their hard times because of what others in the family might say. Good times happen without much fanfare because the closeness is gone. And so we’ve become strangers.

I opened with this thought, I will close with it as well. If ever it comes to one final wish, to one final hope, mine would be for a moment, just a moment, of what once was.


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