Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Aunting and Uncling

Face by face, one by one, I name the people in the family picture, those my grandchildren don't know because we have lived on the other side of the states. My granddaughters want cousins. Their friends visit their aunts and uncles and play with their extended family. My children were not so fortunate nor are my grandchildren. We have had none of my family within driving distance most of their lives.

I have lived away from those who share my roots since 1978. My daughter was six and my son four when we moved. As the children grew into adulthood, my son decided to take the matter in hand by  writing a round robin making its journey from cousin to cousin even stopping to visit Grandma. We sisters did the same including Mom in the letter journey. An effort was made to keep these relationships alive.

My sisters have kept the thread tying my children to them alive. Their visits have meant the world to them knowing that they trekked the long journey form one coast to another just to see us. As adults, they are friends.

My life was impacted by my aunts and uncles. They were always there, always part of family events. I knew them and loved them and as an adult they became my friends and not just relatives. I have always missed this for my children.

My son is very involved with his nieces. He has been since the day they were born. The love he has for them is reciprocated ten times over in the love they have for him. I know that some day my daughter will do the same for his children. They realize the importance of extended family.

My nephew has no children so embraces his nieces and nephews as his own. When visiting us here on the west coast, he delighted in making memories with his little cousins. They know their cousin Brad.

Over the years, I know that I wasn't there for my nieces and nephews. Yet today, I feel closer to them than ever before. I love my grandnephews and want them to know they have an Auntie who loves them. My adult grandnieces and nephews are just getting to know me. None of us ever had the money to bridge the gap of years and distance. Now we do the best we can.

I thank my aunts and uncles for their love and memories they gave to me. I thank them for their attention, concern and involvement in my life. I thank them for being there.

Families have changed with time, but the needs of children have not.

1 comment:

  1. The large extended family is endangered, due to smaller family size. That may be a good thing, considering the needs of our planet. But we will lose something when we lose our uncles, aunts and cousins.

    I blogged the other day about only children. If only children become prevalent, as they have in other countries such as China, eventually we will have a world without cousins. I know that it costs somewhere around a quarter of a million dollars to raise a kid, and I don't blame anyone for limiting family size. But I am sorry about the cousins.