AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: April 29, 2013 | COMMENTS: 7 Comments
CATEGORIES: Focusing on The Joy, Love & Marriage,
Instead of cheese we say, “cousins“. Not always because that wouldn’t make sense, but this past weekend “cousins” was the word of the day.
When I was a kid my parents were conscientious about nurturing a strong relationship with our extended family. Aunts, uncles, cousins: They were valued members of our circle. Their presence for birthdays, holidays and milestones was usually a given. It was quite a feat considering none of us lived in the same state. Spread out across the country, herculean efforts were always made when it came to our family getting together. Sometimes schedules and finances stood in the way, but most of the time everyone sacrificed a little bit of something in order to be present.
The senior members of my clan seemed to understand how special us cousins should be to one another. I guess that’s why they often threw us in the basement with our sleeping bags and pillows. That’s where the magic happened. Weddings were meticulously planned (we’d all be each other’s bridesmaids); pranks were played on the boys; hair was endlessly braided; and Barbies were played into the wee hours of the night. We’d eavesdrop on our parents who’d laugh and laugh as they’d relived their wilder days over boxes of wine and bottles of beer. Clearly the elders in the group had an affinity for one another. They enjoyed one another’s company and wanted us to love being around each other as much as they did.
Their efforts have paid off…in spades.
This past weekend marked a milestone for our youngest cousin. She’s tying the knot in August, and this was her shower weekend. The destination was a bonus. Chicago is my favorite town. Knowing that none of us could come to Chicago without seeing some sites, we made a three day weekend of it by arriving early Friday…little girl second-cousins in tow. Now that our relationship is cemented, it’s our turn to endear these little ones to one another. A day on Michigan Avenue was the perfect opportunity!
When they smiled for this pictured they yelled, “cousins“! Of course, they are second-cousins, but that little formality was lost in the moment.
The weekend only got better from there. Friday afternoon we picked up our Aunt Angie from the airport (You must know her name is pronounced “Ayngie”. She grew up in Kentucky, y’all). Aunt Angie is our maternal grandmother’s younger sister. She’s eighty-six years young and has a spunk in her step that gives us forty and thirty-something cousins hope. We can only pray her good health and high spirits are genetic. Aunt Angie flew in for the shower and utilized the wheel chair service in the airport because she thought she should. However, she forgot to play the part when she scampered into the bathroom right before boarding. Her quick pace resulted in a scolding from her daughter for not “selling the little old lady bit” more convincingly.
Let me tell you…there’s nothing “little-old-lady” about Aunt Angie’s spirit.
Saturday night Aunt Angie told stories. Stories about her parents and grand parents that I’d never heard. She referred to people that are “my people” using names of distant relatives I recognized but really don’t know much about. Honestly, she could have held court because my generation was captivated by hearing our history. There’s something so magical about learning our ancestry. To hear that I look like my grandma or my aunt laughs like her aunt. It unearths a connection in us to the past and makes me wonder. What would my great grandmother think of me now? I hope she’d be proud of all of us and the people we’ve grown up to be. Most importantly, I bet she’d be proud that our family is so tight. I know that’s what I want for my great-great grandchildren–to cherish their family–my family.
Of course, Saturday brought us to shower day. Jessica, my baby cousin, is getting married in August. Mary Kate is the flower girl so this marked her first shower experience. MK couldn’t have been more excited.
As I drove home on Sunday I couldn’t help but feel sad the weekend was over. That’s how it always is when I’ve been looking forward to something for so long. When it’s over, there’s a buzzkill involved. That being said, I also reflected on how lucky I am. I have such a great family. We all enjoy one another so much. Sure…we have our “that family” moments. All families do. But when push comes to shove my family–the aunts, uncles and cousins–the great aunts, second cousins, and in laws–are always a sure thing to one another.
And “sure things” are always a blessing.
Just a little well-wish to my very loyal reader, Debbie Schaff. Debbie, I know you were the mother of the groom this past weekend. I want you to know I thought of you on your special day. From what I’ve seen on FB, it looks like you had a wonderful weekend with your “sure thing” family. I’m so happy for you and Chris. Just wanted you to know! XOXO