Tuesday, April 14, 2009

family matters

I come from a very small family.  When I met Marc, I had 13 living relatives, 3 of them spouses.  You would think that with such a small family that we would have been very close, but the sad truth is that we were not, not emotionally, and not physically, spread out as we were from one side of Texas to the other.  My sister and I are very close now but that didn’t happen until I grew up.  And, my small family has grown some...we now number 23 individuals, spouses included, and my generation, us 3 siblings, have made sure our children grew up with the closeness we never had.

Marc, on the other hand, comes from a huge family that celebrates all the life cycle events with equally huge gatherings.  You can imagine my shock the first time I attended one of these affairs, a room full of two hundred people or more and they were all related and that wasn’t even all of them.  He’s got more first cousins than I have family.  They gathered me in and now, they are my family too.  

We are a raucous crowd at best which is one of the reasons I love them so much.  Family celebrations when I was growing up were quiet somber affairs, core family only.  No loud voices allowed, no disagreements allowed, no fun allowed.  All this was brought back to me last Friday when we drove to Austin for a seder at our niece’s house.  

Brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, wives and husbands and friends all gathered to share dinner.  Small children ran around under foot squealing, adults louder so as to be heard, lots of laughter and noise.  All 27 or so of us sat down at three tables formed into a triangle in the living room.  A seder is the dinner that commemorates Passover, a meal and a home conducted service together.  The service is read by and participated in by all, even the children have a part.  There is a leader, in this case the eldest nephew.  None of us really paying attention, too busy catching up, making jokes, but lending half an ear so that when our time came to read, we knew when and where.  A stranger looking in might think us irreverent but the religious occasion that brought us here is only one small part of the gathering.  

After dinner the food was put away, dishes were washed, tables were broken down and the living room was transformed into a dormitory.  The friends went home for the night but the family all stayed over and the 3 bedroom house was full.  Around 2 AM, the lights were finally turned out and about four or five hours later we were awakened by the sounds of children.  We finally got on the road back to Wharton, about a 2 1/2 hour drive, around noon, tired and happy.


  1. Sounds like you're lucky to have married into such a large and loving family.

    It's funny, that mantra you posted on my blog, because while I was getting shots and drilled and everything yesterday, I kept thinking in my head that it was only a matter of time til it was over. And it definitely helped!

  2. Yes, very lucky that they like me so much.

    We seem to be on a wave of synchronisticity, finding each others websites independently within days and now this.


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