Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. ~Jane Howard
This quote has always been a favorite of mine. I have thought of it often through the years and have thought of it's meaning.
We all need a family. We all need to feel a sense of belonging and need the security of knowing that we have roots. We need to know that we have people that love us in spite of all our faults. My heart aches for those who don't have a connection with their families. Those who have strained relationships.
My family has experienced our fair share of heartache and trials. Trust me.
A thought that is constant in my mind through out each situation is that we have each other through the trial. At times we agree to disagree but at the end of the day we LOVE each other and I can't imagine my life without my FAMILY.
These past couple of weeks, I have been able to spend a lot of time with my side of the family. I have five sisters. Between the six of us we have 21 grandchildren. So when we are all together it is a bit of choas!
My sister Katie came home from Georgia with her two girls. She left her husband and two year old and home. :-( But...we were able to have her home for two weeks. My other sister Jen came home with two of her four children and we all headed up to Heise to swim and camp. The above pic shows 15 of the 21 grandchildren. They had just finished swimming so they are not all dolled up... but this is who they are. Tired.... sunburned.. hungry... and not thrilled about Aunt Kim taking a pic!
Each time I am with my sisters and their children I get a bit emotional. Sure it is tiring. So many children... different personalities.. schedules.. etc... it can be stressful. BUT in spite of all of that I am just happy. I love that my children's cousins are some of their best friends.
When I was growing up, we didn't spend time with our cousins. I have cousins I have never met and wouldn't recognize on the street. Both Darren and I do not have large extended families. I didn't attend large family reunions. My Grandfathers died when I was just a baby. It was just something that was missing from our lives.
So... to my Mom and Dad's credit.... even though we are all a bit corky... we spend time with each other. My sisters and I try to see each other as much as possible and most traveling between all families is to see each other. We have never taken a family vacation alone with just our family. It has always been to visit someone on either my side or his or we have met and vacationed together.
It is moments like this one. Katelyn LOVES each of her cousins. She doesn't have a sister so time spent with her cousins is precious to her. She calls them. Plans sleepovers with them. She now is able to Facetime and email them. She loves them.
I LOVE that my children have so many Aunts and Uncles. They love each of them and are very close to them. They tell their Aunts things that they don't even tell me and I am ok with that. The more support and love they feel the better. I honestly feel like my sisters children are just as much a part of me. We help each other. We support each other as Mothers and are often each others best support system. (Even if that means that one of us is almost arrested becuase we are defending the other.. but we won't go there.)
This weekend we travel again to Utah to spend time with Darren's Mothers side of the family. He has a cousin on that side that I have not met and we have been together for 20 years! So... we are excited and can't wait to once again spend more time with FAMILY.