Written after an exhausting day during Labor Day Weekend 2010…forgot to hit publish…enjoy…
Oh, what a day today was. Today our cousin and his new wife had a fete to celebrate their recent nuptials. A fun, laid back Labor Day gathering of family and friends. The cousins were there, the ones we barely see but every time we do I wonder why we don’t get together more. They’re not really my husband’s cousins they’re his dad and aunt’s cousins but they’re all incredibly sweet and they all have children, some the same age as my girls. I come from a small family, me plus three so to be part of a family so much bigger than my own is overwhelming at times. But overwhelming in such a wonderful way.
I get really emotional about family because I can get lost really easily in thinking about family as just mine and mine alone…me, my hubby, my girls,…forgetting that getting married and now with children I’ve extended my family to mean a whole lot of folks. It means my daughters have ties and bloodlines and cousins and aunts and uncles and history. Things I unconsciously wished I had growing up.
I’m caught up a lot these days in soaking up as much time as possible with my little ladies. Our oldest, especially, because this is such an incredible time in her development. She repeats everything she hears and not just in a parrot like way but with emotion and knowing what it means. She is kind and curious and excited and playful and just so many things she has always been but somehow never was in this new and amazing way; I can’t stop watching. She jokes around. She giggles. She plays tricks on us. She rolls her eyes. She dances like mad. She puts her hands on her hips. She is gentle to her sister and tries to soothe her with soft strokes on her back when she cries. She pretends to breastfeed her dolls.
Oh and our baby, who was born just yesterday and all of a sudden rolls around and giggles, a hearty wide mouthed giggle. Baby girl who adores her older sister, who is patient and happy. I thought time went quickly when big sis was a baby but now with number two, time is moving at breakneck speed and it’s frightening. These kids are just growing up.
I’m so wrapped up in how much they’re growing and enjoying it so much, I think I sometimes lose sight of how important it is to share them and let them experience other people, especially their family. I don’t know if other people are like this or if it’s just me but I really do forget to make that effort. I’m not holed up at home all the time, though it is one of my favorite past times and luckily both my girls adore being home. See, the thing is I’ve always been a loner kind of chick. Ok, not a loner, loner but a social loner. I love people but I love spending time with myself just as much. I’ve spent so many years prior to motherhood doing my own thing – lunches on my own, lazy days shopping, random drives, hours spent in bookstore aisles – all on my own. Alone by choice because I’ve always been so comfortable with myself. When my daughters were born, it was so exhilarating because it meant I had my own posse to join me in my ventures around town.
But this weekend I realized I have to fight the loner urge sometimes. I have to make the effort so they can connect to their history, their family. I know every time they see family won’t be about resurrecting history and that’s ok. It will be about building relationships, creating memories – a history of their own. I’m a firm believer that memories, history, connecting with family is how you build roots, how you ground yourself. It’s building a compass for later in life when things get frazzled. It makes it easier to navigate what life throws at you.
Growing up, I envied people who had larger families. There was a camaraderie and connection I never felt in my tiny family. Not that my tiny family wasn’t a joy or that my extended family of insanely caring friends wasn’t enough. Knowing I can give my daughters the opportunity to experience what I didn’t have means the world to me. So in my mental, ever evolving life manifesto I’m adding – allow time at least everyday to connect with family – a phone call, lunch, a playdate, going over photo albums…something so they know our family is more than just us.
It’s almost a year later and I remember sitting in front of my screen typing these words. I remember how light and happy my heart was floating that day. It’s reading entries like these that make me happy to keep a blog.That said, I also remember that day and thinking how nice it would be to have regular family reunion. It’s a massive undertaking but, I think, so well worth it. Have you ever organized a big family reunion? I’d love to know how you organize and manage it all.