I always thought my family was typical, even normal. But, have realized over the years that we are a totally awesome family!! Everyone is married or divorced and remarried or just divorced (like me!). We all have kids, houses, careers, cars, and the normal stuff in life. We had terrific mothers: ethical, moral, strong, determined, survivors, role-models. Some of us had crappy dads - but the moms were so awesome, that it made up the difference. And for those that didn't have great moms, there were really strong grandmothers helping out!
We are a close-knit family, very supportive of each other, helping each other out when needed. We get together about 4 or 5 times a year, Easter, Summer party, Thanksgiving & Christmas at least, plus any graduations or weddings in between! Originally, there were 4 sisters, which turned into 55 descendents counting spouses. Every year, all the cousins, parents, aunt & uncles get together and share stories about life, vacations, careers, kids, actually everything! When I mentioned these dinners to my friends over the years, they're reactions surprised me. I thought all families did this, but come to realize that there are families that live in the same small community and don't even know each other! What a blow-away!
I used to have a pretty poor self-esteem issues. I used to think that because I was adopted and they were all part of the "Real" family that they didn't care as much about me as the rest. But, over the years, I realized that I was not right in feeling that way and they loved me unconditionally. I could tell you some stories that put it to the test, not sure if today will be the day :) But overall, through the years, I have arrived at a place where I am the most comfortable in my own skin than ever before. I have the most confidence and the most satisfaction in being who I am. It's a wonderful feeling!
Anyway, there's about 25 or so that get together on Thanksgiving. Then at Christmas everyone shows up that is in town. Thanksgiving is much more relaxed. Much easier to spend time and talk with everyone than at Christmas. And this year was no different from the others. One of my cousins, with whom I share my birthdate with, never comes to Thanksgiving Dinner because she lives out of town. Over the years she has lived in Nashville, Cleveland and now Washington D.C. But this year, she was at dinner - the first in 18 years! I missed her so much and at Christmas, we don't get to talk as much as we like. Her brother (my cousin), his wife and girls live in Cincinnati. Due to both family obligations and the age of their daughters, they didn't attend all the dinners. As a result, I've not gotten much time to get to know her either. The three of us hung out and chatted for hours. It was fantastic!
During that conversation, we talked about the kids - how, when we were kids, we were NOT allowed to act up in any way. We had to eat at the kid's table, until we were married. We were expected to act appropriately, like we were out in a restaurant through dinner and if we misbehaved, or even one of us, and a parent had to come to the table, we all got in trouble. We laughed about the fun we had as kids. Dressing up, pretending, playing Mouse Trap and other board games. We would go outside and play. The goal was to play nicely, behave and allow the parents to have some time together. I totally respect how they raised us.
Now, things are a little different. The kids sit at the table with their parents. We suspect it's began because they couldn't behave without their parents sitting right there. Then the way they behave when they play is so different from what we were allowed to do. They are loud, physical, pick on each other, not really play together. They are growing up now, the oldest of that generation is 12. We guessed they will get better as they get older. At least we hope so!!
We discussed about marriages and why they break up - so much so that even our family is not above the divorce epidemic. My cousin had an interesting theory - she called it the "BREACH OF CONTRACT". (I am going to borrow that and start a blog just about the Breach of Contract.) What that is, is when after a "period of time" in a marriage, they have kids and get busy with the family or work or the school/community, and forget to pay attention to each other, forget to work out, forget to be the person that they were when they fell in love. Then they wonder why things are such a mess. It's clearly a Breach of Contract. It's so totally true and goes both ways for husbands or wives that change.
Then I found out that my cousin who lives in Washington D.C. and I have so much more in common than I thought. For one, we both supported George W. Bush and are conservative republicans - just like the rest of the family. We both like to read auto- and biographies and listen to Sean Hannity! And of course, we get our news from Fox News, Fair and Balanced. It's terrific!! She shared with me that she and her husband were able to go to former President Ronald Reagan's funeral. I would have loved to attend his funeral. Nancy Reagan's limo drove past them, she waved at them and she said it was very moving. I would love to take a trip to Simi Valley, CA and visit The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum. It would be a great trip!!
We ended up talking until everyone was leaving around 10pm. It was fantastic to have 'girl time' and just catch up, learn more about each other and build the legacy to carry on into the generation. So this year, Thanksgiving was a total blessing!
I can't forget to mention: Hi Mom, I sure missed you! I hope you are enjoying your time with Grandma and Grandpa, Dad and his family, your sisters and all others that have gone before me! Hi Aunt Ruth and Aunt Edna! Miss you too!! Love you all!! And can't forget about Dad - love you and miss you! Happy Thanksgiving!!