Sometimes it's good to go home. I'm getting to that middle age when you only get to see your extended family at funerals. Last weekend we traveled to Illinois for a joyous purpose - my brother's wedding. My four brothers and sisters, husbands and wives as well as most of their children, were there to celebrate. We are really quite the crowd:
I didn't realize my immediate family was so big until I looked at this picture. Not only did my immediate family attend, a good number of my cousins with their kids (and a few grandkids) showed up. I had 23 cousins on my mother's side growing up and counting their spouses, children and grandchildren, there were 21 family members there representing the original 23. That might not sound like a lot of family members to some people, but my cousins are scattered from Boston to Virginia, from New Orleans to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and everything in between, especially southern Illinois. The best part? Because of social media, I feel like I still know what my cousins are doing most of the time. Gotta love it.
We don't get too many chances these days to gather for occasions like weddings. My mother was one of five girls and in the last four years, 3 of them have died, including my mother. It's wonderful to know that even as my mother's generation is waning, their children still enjoy getting together and introducing new members of their families. How ironic that probably the last wedding of the cousins is my brother's, the oldest cousin.
My kids were very surprised to find out how many "cousins" they have. Here are the first cousins:
My daughter kept asking how she was related to all the other family she was meeting. I kept repeating that they were all "cousins," some just farther removed. During her week in Illinois, she also visited with my husband's family, including "cousins." After we returned to Arizona, she missed being so far away from her extended family on both sides. As the unofficial family genealogist, I was thrilled to see both of my children so interested in their family roots.
My cousins used to comment that such a large family came from the five "Wilbourn girls" (my mother and her sisters). As we get older, our families have become very extended. My kids and their cousins will now look to the five "Hendricks kids" as their source.
Mom and Dad would be so proud.