I am the first born of two first borns. I am the oldest grandchild and gave birth to the oldest great-grandchild. I have cousins galore and many of my cousins have kids. My extended family is scattered though more than a half-dozen states. I don’t always see my cousins, even the ones in town, but this weekend, I had the opportunity to see a good chunk of my family twice. And I get to see them again later this week.
I treasure every single moment.
There is absolutely nothing like belonging to a family. And family may start with blood, but extends with love to others until the line between those born into it and those brought in via other avenues blurs until it is indiscernible.
We share a common language. We share a common set of memories. They are my foundation. I think I take them for granted.
My aunts. My uncles. My cousins. They are the trunk of my tree. I am a branch and my children are the sprouts.
I am who I am because I belong to them. They have helped to craft me into the person I am. They will do the same for my children.
And when I returned home to my own nuclear family with a few heirloom items to share, they were engrossed and engaged in learning the stories of the things that come from my family.
I will do my part to pass it down.
I will no longer take my family for granted. I must show my kids that we value our extended family. That we love them and what they bring to our lives. Then, and only then, will they see how they, too, should make an effort to stay connected to their families — extended and nuclear.