"Family faces are like magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future."
~ Gail Lumet Buckley
I am so blessed to have an amazing family! Like probably everyone in America, I have an interesting family dynamic, but it's never seemed odd to me. Sure, I have like a zillion relatives and step-relatives and relatives-twice-removed, but they're all family and have never felt like anything other than that. When we have reunions - whether it's the Howard clan, the Rennells clan, the Stahl clan, or any other branch of the family - it's always just a joy to see and be in fellowship with everyone.
I fondly remember summers spent sleeping over at cousins' houses, family trips to the cabin in Canada, pool parties at Aunt Helen's, Easter egg hunts in Amherst, and St. Patrick's Day dinners at any "O'Stahl" house available. I read once about how cousins are our first friends, and that feels very true to my own experience. Even now, as adults, the bond between us cousins is so strong - when we see each other, even though it may have been years, we are still connected just as firmly as we were when we played together as children.
This past spring, the Howard clan got together for our first reunion in 8 years. 10 of the 12 of us first cousins were there, as were many of the "removeds," it was a tremendous time. Barely two weeks after that reunion, Grandma passed away. Now my cousin Gayle, the eldest of us on this side, and her brother Rick, are both very ill. My heart aches for these my "siblings of the heart" and for the family as a whole.
I am truly blessed with a strong and wondrous family, ours is a deep bond. Right now I am thinking of all of you, my relatives, with gratitude and sending my love to each and every one of you, knowing that, no matter what, all manner of things shall be well.