I spent the weekend with my crazy wonderful family in Idaho. My lovely cousin, Mya, married her sweetie in a gorgeous outdoor wedding. It was a whirlwind weekend that was a Mötley Crüe of families from multiple marriages and the common denominator was our Mya. It was pretty awesome.
One of the things I cherish most about this side of the family is how simple we are. We don't need a big production to make memories. Really all we need is a boatload of hot dogs, a camp fire and a swimming pool. The photo above was taken by my cousin, Allie. I couldn't have done a better job. This pool is the center of our family. My great-grandparents had it and my mom and her brothers learned how to swim in this pool. My brother and I were fortunate enough to have some swimming lessons with our incredible great-grandpa before he passed away. And now, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren continue to enjoy great moments in the pool. On Friday night we were in the pool well past sundown and we laughed and shared stories and bonded. Again. That night as I was laying in bed I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude for my simple, redneck, loud, loving relatives. We party like rock stars and we know it. And then I read this status update by my Allie. "Mya gets married tomorrow. So what do we do? Have a giant get together and roast hot dogs and swim. Who needs a fancy rehearsal dinner when you have an awesome family like this?" I will never feel comfortable in a big production hoopty-doo setting. I hate it actually. If there has to be brovado we aren't trying hard enough to really get to know each other.
I also want to say how blessed I am to be the oldest cousin and really the "mostly aunt" to so many little people. I remember being so bent as a kid that I didn't have cousins my age but now I am overwhelmed with the pure JOY that I experience with these cousins. I can't get enough of them. The kisses and the teasing and the sweet baby smiles keep me going. I was especially touched when I was leaving my aunt and uncle's house on Saturday night and my darling cousin ran out the door and yelled, "I love you!!" And then she fell asleep in my lap the next day at church. Adore her. Adore all of them.
The moral of the story: the memories we make with our family are critical. They don't have to include fancy places or fancy decorations, but they do need go include lots of laughter and "I love you."
Until next time, my lovelies!