Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Extended Family

Several people have commented on my extended family. I had not considered this unusual but apparently it is.

My mother's side of the family was rather prolific. She had a sister and four brothers. My grandmother had three sisters and two brothers. My grandfather had seven siblings. They all had children and their children have children.

Some of them had children when they were quite young and their daughters followed suit, making them grandparents at the age of 40. Before my grandmother passed away last year there were four generations living at the same time. And if you add in the fact that my great-grandfather's sister passed away earlier this year at 107, there were actually five generations going strong at once.

I think that is pretty remarkable.

Another thing is that the family history goes way back. The family settled here in the late 1700s. That's 200+ years of cousins.

In fact, my husband and I are 5th cousins, which we did not know when we married. His great aunt kept telling us we were kin but we didn't believe her until I did the family history thing about a decade ago.

I am kin to a great many people who have long roots in this valley.

The thing about family and knowing all of these people is that it doesn't happen by accident. Well, accident of birth, perhaps, but it takes a little time and effort to get to know all of these folks.

I have gone out of my way to meet distant cousins. Sometimes we click and stay in contact, sometimes we don't. When we do I am grateful.

My Christmas card list is about 50 families large. If nothing else I stay in touch this way. I don't do the long letter thing but instead I generally hand write a note in each card. It is a short note but it's personal.

I do not know my father's people very well. They do not live here and I don't see them. That is a post for another day.

My great aunt's funeral is this afternoon. I have a ton of work and I really don't have the time to do the family get-together afterwards, but I will.

Relationships are more important than work. Family is more important than anything the money I earn can buy.

I don't know how we have managed to let this slip away from us. We need to bring it back. We need those connections with aunts and cousins. We need family, all of us.

May you find family wherever you are. The world is what you make it.

3 comments:

  1. Being part of a family that is so large and so deeply rooted would be a wonderful feeling. Coming from a family that is broken, I truly envy you. But I am so glad you talk about your family. It's nice to see what could be, and maybe what is in the future for my kids.
    I hope everything went ok today.

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  2. I couldn't imagine keeping up with a family that size. I agree that the family bond is strong. I feel mine are an extension of me.

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  3. That's funny that you and your husband are 5th cousins! That gives the old saying, You can choose your friends but not your family" a whole different meaning, doesn't it?

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