I was so very lucky in “picking” my family. My sisters and I grew up in the same town as one set of first cousins…we were four girls, they were three boys and two girls…we went to the same church, celebrated holidays together, cavorted naked in the sprinklers and mud together…some holidays were spiced up by the addition of more cousins who lived in other areas of Southern California…big Easter egg hunts in our back yard, throwing the football in the middle of the street with the dads on Christmas afternoons…
And then we all grew up and moved away. Our moms kept us all up to date and we stayed friends. My mom decided early on (I think it started as her excuse to see her grandchildren while they were still young) that it would be great to start the tradition of family reunions. We started gathering every 2 or 3 years at their house…we and our new babies slept in sleeping bags scattered all over the house and ate at long tables with big bowls of whatever dishes were prepared that night. Our kids started their own traditions and became friends. The advent of the internet made the maintenance of their friendships a little easier. All the mothers and sibs and cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles knew to their core that they had family who loved them and who had their backs.
My mom organized the first reunions, then I, as the oldest of my generation, took over the complicated task of scheduling…now, I have unofficially handed off the reunion planner job to one of the next generation…and so it continues. We have “reuned” in greater Seattle, midcoast California, midcoast Maine, Idaho, Alaska…we have met in small groups and large…and then there are some who have never made it to a reunion, for one reason or another…they don’t escape the web of family…thanks to Facebook, they are stuck with us, too!
I hope that my children’s children’s children know their kin the way we know ours. Family is good. Family is forever.