I am getting ready to leave for a trip to visit family. Most of the family I am going to visit, I would not recognize if they lived next door.
It is a strange feeling to not know your whole family. I never realized before it was something I was missing. I am very close to my siblings. We have had every holiday together for my entire life-probably much to the chagrin of our poor spouses. I am the only one who has moved out of a 30 mile radius and I just did that six months ago. There are six kids and three in-laws and while we are all wildly different and probably drive each other nuts on a regular basis, we all still choose to spend time together. With some, we talk almost daily. I am pretty lucky. That’s pretty good right?
We moved here in March and my kids have had a steady stream of second cousins or first cousins once removed (I’m never sure what they’re called) in and out of their lives since the day we moved in. My husband has a million and one cousins. Literally. A million and one. He adores each one.
Since we have moved, my kids have had three separate cousin babysitters, one dance teacher cousin and one Super Hero Realtor/Hockey Coach future cousin-in-law. It’s fantastic and I am thrilled for this closeness, not only for my kids, but for my husband. These are people who know him like none other and it has clearly made our move easier on all of us. The only trouble with all this family is that we never seem to see enough of them!
My kids will know, and know well, their King and Mylod families and that is truly a gift.
They will know their aunts and uncles on the Ritz side which is also a gift.
They will miss, as I have, their extended Ritz and Baker relatives and that, I am learning, is a little sad.
My father’s family, save for one aunt, have been strangers to me. That one aunt played a huge role in my childhood and I adore her. But she has moved to Ohio and all my kids have are the constant reminders I give them of their Aunt Mimi. I am excited to meet the rest of my dad’s people and hopefully bring a little piece of them back to my kids. There are stories and history and achievements that I have no idea about and I think I should not only know it, but share it with my kids. These are their roots too and for better or worse, they share one quarter of their identity with these people. The least I can do is fill them in on the details.
My mom’s family lives in California and Arizona. I have met them enough to know I wish we lived a lot closer. They are like celebrities because they live in a place I have dreamed of living. My husband and I talk all the time about how we should visit as our family vacation, but then the reality of flying five people to California hits us and we go back to thanking God for email and Facebook. We tell our kids about Grandma’s twin brothers and their kids. I remind my kids they have second cousins or first cousins once removed (whatever) on my side too.
Roots have always been important to me-maybe because I was never sure how deep mine grew. I knew the branches of the family tree, but I wasn’t entirely familiar with the trunk or how deep we grew into the ground.
I will fly out in two days to meet some of the roots of the Ritz tree and I can’t wait. Then I will be able to add to my children’s family tree with stories and memories it has taken me almost 36 years to make.
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