It's been more than four decades since Aunt Melisia uttered the scary words to me at a family reunion. I have never forgotten them. I've been running from them for years. But it's been only recently that I find myself remembering and embracing them with a smile.
Every Sunday before Labor Day our family made an annual trip to Platt National Park (now known as the Chickasaw National Recreation Area) in Sulphur, Oklahoma for a Scifres family reunion. It was anticipated with an excitement bordering on Christmas morning. It's the only time that we saw many members of my dad's very large family. He had fifteen siblings and twelve of them grew to adulthood. And some of his siblings had large families. The first reunion was held in 1959. I can't think of these reunions without reflecting on the people who made up our large and very talkative clan.
Aunt Melisia was seventeen years older than my dad. She was the seventh and last child born to the union of my grandfather, Andrew T. Scifres and Sarah Smith. Aunt Melisia was born in February 1895 and her mother died in July of that year. My grandfather married Martha Ada Young (my grandmother) on November 26, 1899.
By the time that I remember attending the reunions, my dad's oldest sister, Aunt Mary, had stopped coming due to mobility issues. But we always stopped in Ada, Oklahoma to visit Aunt Mary on our way to the reunion. Aunt Melisia was the oldest sister at the reunion and she presided with a regal air that commanded respect.
It was sometime during my college years that Aunt Melisia uttered the words that have stayed with me and that I ran from for years. I was proud that I had finally reached goal weight at Weight Watchers.
I looked forward to showing off my new body, but then Aunt Melisia uttered these words, "Don't worry, honey, you'll plump up one of these days."
And you know what? I have! And finally after decades of being a WW member, I stopped. I'm working at loving and accepting myself just as I am. And I'm okay with that.