Cousins

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My husband and I were commenting the other day and wondering why it seems to take a funeral; to get together with cousins that you have not seen in a long time. Another observation we made was how much laughter there could be at funerals.

It doesn’t seem like laughter and funerals go together but I must confess, around here they do seem to end up that way. This past week an aunt on my mom’s side passed away. She “went home” on Christmas day and her family knew she had the best Christmas ever.

We will be gathering to lay her to rest….and we will be gathering to remember the life she lived. I have a feeling there will be a lot of reminiscing with all the cousins that will be there. I also have a feeling that there will be lots of grins and laughter.

I think that at some points it will resemble a celebration of sorts. A celebration of life lived, a celebration of family gathering, a celebration of what makes family…family.

We will realize that family isn’t perfect and that is okay. We will remember the childhood nights spent at cousins’ homes and games played in those home. For those of us who grew up in our small town….we loved to go to the farm homes of our cousins.

There was always something exciting to do there. You could ride the pigs (when your uncles were not looking), you could stand on top of the cab of an old pickup in the grove and launch yourself onto a gunny sack swing and soar high into the air. There were board games to be played, games of Kick The Can and Moonlight Starlight Hope To See The Ghost Tonight.

You just knew it was a successful time when you went home in the back seat of your parents’ car feeling tired, having a cut on your shin from running into the cistern in the dark and feeling slightly sick from to much running in the heat and too much really sweet Kool-aid.

It was a carefree time to be a kid. There didn’t seem to be any big worries that we had. Some of our biggest concerns were, if we would be able to talk our folks into letting us stay overnight so we could have more time together. We also did our best to talk our folks into letting us each take a chicken home. (Even then I wanted chickens! …. and yes…we were successful on that one.)

There are so many wonderful memories of times spent with cousins on both sides of the family. I was fortunate to have a girl cousin my age on both sides. I went to school with them and spent my childhood years surrounded by cousins of all ages.

I can only hope that in the future my grandchildren will have those same close ties and connections with their cousins. I know they will be miles apart, instead of town blocks apart, but my prayer is that family ties stretch across those many miles.

I hope that someday when those future cousins meet to celebrate my “home-going” there is lots of laughter, lots of love and so many good stories to be told of time spent together at Grandpa and Grandma’s house. Time where they played games, got into a little (only a little) mischief, and made memories that will bond them together for a lifetime.

 

 

A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
Marion C. Garretty

Cousins are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer.
Ed Cunningham

Doing Life….Together

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My husband and I had the opportunity to go to a wedding this weekend of a cousin. It was a great time spent with family that you don’t always get to talk to. It was so much fun reconnecting with some of his cousins.

Lots of childhood stories were passed around the table at the reception. Stories of games played at family gatherings, tales of “remember when…….”, time spent comparing memories each cousin had of the same event in their past, and stories of uncles and aunts who pulled pranks on newlywed couples (also known as Shivareeing….and nope I am not sure how to spell that!).

The sense of family and being together was like a warm blanket wrapped around our hearts and souls. The feeling of belonging to something that was timeless brought a contentment that is hard to explain. As talk and laughter swirled around that church fellowship hall it was neat to just stop and look around to absorb the joy of relationships.

So many times in life, busyness gets in the way of relationships and so it is good to have an event that celebrates that very thing. It is good to be reminded that these cousins and siblings have been there your entire life and you can pick up the threads of your childhood anytime you get together.

There is something special about the bond of siblings and cousins. They know pretty much everything about you and still love you….they have to because they are family! They know your strengths and your weaknesses and if you have stayed in touch they will always have your back. It is indeed, a good thing when your family also becomes your friends.

Talking to a cousin or sibling will definitely keep you grounded as they never, ever forget all the brilliant (and stupid) things you did as a kid. They will not let you forget that you shot your brother in the back with a BB gun (this would be my brother in law). They will never let you forget that you put a shotgun shell through your mom’s living room ceiling (another brother-in law ….though my husband usually gets the blame for this one). The stories of roller skating in Grandma’s basement, playing in haymows and remembering certain favorite toys at uncle’s and aunt’s homes are such sweet memories.

I always have so much fun just listening to these stories of my husband’s life. We have been married almost 36 years but every time we get together with his family it seems I learn something new about his childhood.

Maybe that is part of the beauty of relationships…..there is always more to be learned about another person, another facet to their life. I have a feeling it may take way more than my lifetime to really know everything about this man God gave me.  I think that is a good thing.

 

 

A cousin is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost
Marion C. Garretty