Generational Dance 7

As life happens and time passes, your place in the family and among your friends changes.  A baby is born and so T is no longer the baby in the family.  Your grandmother and great aunt passes and now your mother is the oldest living member of the family.

At a grand occasion like a Thanksgiving dinner, you notice the shifting samba of this generational dance.
The kid who last year smiled and played games enthusiastically has become a silent, brooding teenager.  He is not consciously impolite but has his electronic barrier up – the ear buds and dangling wires of his ipod.  The girl who once baby sat for you is now the mother of this teenager and his younger sibling, her looks and words keeping them in line and nurturing.  She and her husband form a loving and strong family unit.

Your son and his friend are edging around both sides of 30 – one nearly there and one just past.  They are both in committed relationships and so their talk is different now.  A new-found seriousness runs through their bantering with the older men about the ways of women.

Conversations abound.  You are now among the people reminiscing about the places, restaurants and stores that used to be.  There is evidence that “Black people are losing ground” as the discussion rolls around to the changing borders of Roxbury (and whose fault it is – the post office?  the government?  people’s snobbishness); the imminent closing of Bob-the-Chef’s (née Bob’s Southern Bistro); the lack of progress among Boston’s blacks (the young men live in other cities and are world travelers now so they know of what they assert so forcefully); the violence.

We talk about Juneteenth, the Roxbury Film Festival, and Steppin’ Out.  We talk about jobs.  One man moving from young to almost middle, shares details proudly of becoming a manager at a hugely successful company and, of course, he is the only Black manager at the company (still!).  We talk about biotechnology and the fact that there is success in creating non-embryonic stem cells.  (This conversation comes about because there is a graduate student from India who is the new face at the dinner table this year.)

The greetings and goodbye hugs are tighter this year because we don’t know when this configuration of family and friends will gather again.  The host is looking to move to “hotlanta”.  The sons live in other cities and travel the world.  The graduate student will expand his network.

The love, however, will remain.  Next year – there could be weddings to attend.  We pray that we will remain in good health and accident-free so there will be no funerals.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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