By Jamila Nasser
Unis Middle School
After school is finally over and summer is here, no one ever plans it really, a gathering happens at my house. My three aunts and all their kids come in carrying something different, from chicken to meat to even pie, we all sit down together and eat. It’s our traditional, not-planned family reunion.
Welcome to my family.
My mom and three of her sisters ll live on one block. There are six sisters in all, but one lives in Lebanon and the other one lives also in Dearborn but a bit farther from where we all live. They were all born in Lebanon.
In the beginning, my uncles began to move to America to start a new life. Soon after, my aunts and more uncles began to follow to start new lives, too. When my uncles came to America, they settled in Dearborn.
My aunt Sonia was the first to settle on Coleman, the street we all live on now. I asked why she picked Coleman. She said “it was by accident, really. Also, because it was a quiet, simple street waiting for me and my sisters.”
Soon after, Rose, bought a house but one street away “too much kids on one street … not so safe,” she says. After she moved in, my mother took my older brother and I — we were very young — to live with Sonia for two years until my dad came back from Lebanon.
My aunt Jeahn was not living on Coleman but in Dearborn, but that didn’t last. She decided she needed her sisters because she grew up with them, so she bought a house that was three houses down from Sonia’s. After my dad finally came to America, we ended up buying a house on the same street. So there we were: four sisters on one street, even though Rose didn’t exactly live on Coleman. But, hey, we were still pretty close.
Through 26 years my mom, Njoud, had five kids, Jehan had six, Rose had four and Sonia had three. A lot, right?
After we all grew up, we made Coleman our street. We would get up every summer morning and go visit each one. So we were really never bored. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner together. We share everything. During the day everyone is at my house because I have the biggest backyard. We swim, play, eat, laugh and love being together.
We share everything, from clothes, to food to even houses,” says my cousin Dounya.
On an average summer day this is what we do: We get up like 8:30 a.m., all us kids meet at my house with our swimsuits and towels. We all jump in the pool for our morning swim. We swim till about 11. We get out, have something to eat, get redressed, sit around the table and just relax. Then, we get on our bikes or skateboards and go for a ride.
By the time we’re back, my aunts and mom are on the porch drinking coffee and sitting together. My aunts all come to my house. My mom makes the Arabic coffee. What’s better than sitting on a beautiful warm day with your sisters and having your kids run around and enjoying life? Nothing, really.
With the kids and aunts there, we all sit around or play a fair game of volleyball or basketball until it’s time to go home. We all say goodnight and wait for it all to happen again the next morning. “Every day is better than the last” Ayaa tells me.
We kids have a special tradition. Every Saturday night during the summer, every kid comes over, not the parents, though, and we all sit, start a bonfire, eat, dance, sing and just have fun together. “It’s our family tradition that will never change” says Zeniab.
None of us could imagine life without each other, because whatever is mine its theirs. We share everything, and we’re as close as a family can ever be — maybe even closer. I doubt any other family is like ours. No one can ever replace all my cousins and aunts. We plan to stay as close as long as we possibly can because I know I could never be anything with out my family, especially the ones who have been there through it all. Don’t you think?