I was blessed growing up with many cousins, uncles, and aunts nearby. If we didn't live in the same town, we lived in towns not too far away to warrant an occasional visit. Family picnics and reunions were just a part of growing up together. I have older cousins and younger cousins. Older cousins that I didn't play with when younger, but was familiar with nonetheless; cousins near my same age that I have many, many happy memories of our time spent together; and younger cousins that I am getting to know more and more as the years go by. Family reunions are still well attended even though they are now planned by my generation rather than by my parents, aunts, and uncles.
Our parents instilled in all of us the importance of family gatherings. The importance of staying in touch even though the years roll by, and even though we are separated by thousands of miles. We were also instilled with the idea that our parents, aunts, and uncles are to be honored. This was all very evident to me when just this past weekend, with only two weeks notice, 56 family members from 7 different states, all gathered together to honor my aunt at a party. A party that she requested after finding out she most likely has only two months left on this earth. And it was a happy party. Lots of memories, lots of smiles, and lots of young kids ..... all cousins, of whom I hope carry on the traditions of family picnics, family reunions, and knowing the blessing of honoring their parents, aunts, and uncles.