This weekend I attended a family reunion!
My brother and I are the youngest of all of our first cousins. We were born to the youngest child of an Irish Catholic family of seven children. My mother and her siblings were best friends. As they grew up, married, moved out of the family home and began their own families they stayed connected. They lived in close proximity to each other and spent a lot of time together. They supported each other, their aging parents and their brother who chose to follow his calling and join the Jesuits. My mum grew up with some of the eldest cousins and became the 'cool' aunt to the younger cousins. Sundays were spent with Nanny and Papa. All the cousins were buddies and enjoyed each others company. Even summers were spent together in little cottages by the ocean.
Mum married at 36 and I came along 9 months later... a honeymoon baby! Eighteen months went by and my younger brother was born. Not long after my brother was born they made a decision that would change things a bit for my Mum. They chose to move to the southern part of the state into a cottage by the ocean that Dad had bought before meeting Mum. Up until this time we were living not far from Mum's family. My childhood by the ocean was a happy one. We spent time with family during the holidays and for special occasions. It was a different experience then that of my older cousins. By the time I was born Papa had already passed away and Nanny passed away when I was just five months old. There were no Sunday drives to the grandparents to mix it up with the cousins. It was a different time. I loved the opportunities I had to spend time at my Aunts homes. It was always a happy occasion. During the reunion this weekend I enjoyed hearing stories and looking at the old photos. Since my parents have passed away I have longed for opportunities just like this where we can sit and connect.; share about our current lives and reminisce about bygone days. I feel so blessed that I have cousins who are willing to share their memories and stories. It is such a gift.