Monday, February 23, 2009

Family through the generations

My family has no limits. My closet cousins are not the ones who are my mom and dads nieces and nephews. They are the cousins who in this day and age, I am blessed to even know they are related.

When I was in third grade, we moved from where all my family was (Western New York) and down to Florida. A few years after Florida, we moved and a few years after that, we moved again, this time landing in Nevada. Being isolated from the big family really made me forget about so many family things. The family drama for one, I have no tolerance for, but that is because I don't have to deal with it, being so far away. You can just choose not to pick up the phone if someone is disagreeable.

But the flip side of that is that you lose the connections and etiquette of family dynamics as well. You forget that it IS important that someone felt snubbed, or that someones birthday has passed. In all the years that have passed and my independence grew, I have adapted an attitude of sorts that the family we make is the family we have.

When the boys were born, my Grandma Bette offered to stay with us for six weeks when Don had to go back to work. She came out and stayed up with me until 2am, helping with late night feedings and came up with ways to ease Jaxon's colic. I don't know what I would have done without her help in those weeks. I had finally found my groove right before she left, and I am positive I would have been a crazy woman had it not been for her help.

In the past couple months, I have had my cousins come out to visit. First was my cousin Annie and just a couple weeks ago, my cousin Jennifer came out with her daughter, Gracie. Along with Jennifer was her mom Jean who stayed with my mom since they grew up together as well.

In the past few months Don has flown to see his brother and his family in Virgina as well as his extended family out in Houston. He stayed with his cousin and kept telling me how awesome it felt. Like finding home again. I could totally relate, seeing I feel the same way when I see my cousins as well.

There is no other way to describe it than to say it feels like coming home. It is so odd that months (or years) can pass by without as much a birthday card, yet you are placed in the same room together, and it is like you had just seen each other last week. No awkwardness, no pretending, just instant acceptance and good feelings.

My mom and Jean worked to keep in touch the years where you had to pay long distance charges or sit down to write a letter if you wanted to hear form one another. No emails or cell phone calls on the run for them. Thankfully they made the effort, and we had three generations of families in my house a couple weeks ago. Beth and Jean, Jennifer, Leigha and myself, as well as Gracie and my kids were all just family hanging out and having a good time.

A couple days later, my moms Aunt and Uncle were in town. They were family I haven't seen in probably 20 years except once for a couple hours at Jenn's wedding years ago. Conversations were easily begun, pictures of new family was shown and we all had a nice time.

It is such a beautiful thing that family can be so easy. With just a little love from both sides, we all make each other comfortable and at ease.

I know I have been all over the place in this post, but I just am always surprised at how much love our families have. It is easy to forget how much you mean to someone after not seeing them for so many years. I am surprised to even find that they remember us since we have been gone so long, let alone hold a special place in their heart for us.

So thank you, both Annies :), Jean, and Jennifer for always being a constant presence and giving us the feeling that no matter where we are, if we are with family, we are home. It has been a beautiful lesson relearned in the past couple months.


Anonymous said...

I'm sitting at my computer crying as I write this. You are so right, family is like coming home again, I feel that way about you, your Mom and Leigha all of the time, and I love that we have cell phones and email to keep in touch, it does make it easier across the miles and even if you lived in tim buck two we'd still be there having dinner with you and your lovely family. Our generation is a special one, Anne Marie, Katie and myself have managed to stay close throughout the years as well and these are relatives I don't know what I'd do without. I love all of you dearly and miss you so much already. I also love that our kids can play together!!!! Next time Joey will be in tow!!!
Love you!

Annie said...

Laura, that was beautiful. I feel exactly the same way.

We definitely have Grandma Lee, Aunt Phyl, Aunt Bell and Aunt Rose to thank for us all being so close. Now it's our job to make sure the bond stays strong between us and our kids!


Annie said...

PS - Check out Gracie's giant feet in that picture!! She's too much!

Anonymous said...

Annie's right, we have had the great pleasure of having wonderful powerful women in our lives that all of this possible for us to believe that family is home. Annie, I think it's the socks that make Grace's feet look big, gotta love HSM!!!! But against the boys her feet are big! (yet they haven't grown)
And she LOVES "her Annie" to pieces!!!!!
Love to you both!!