I have a big family. I'm the youngest of 6 kids, and between the 6 of us, we have 13 kids (plus a few stepkids), and some of those 13+ have kids. My mother had 7 siblings, 3 of whom are still alive. They all have kids, and it goes on and on.
And as it often happens with families, not everyone has stayed in close contact over the years. Some have, some haven't. Some did, and then drifted away for many reasons. Some who didn't stay close have become close again.
But, when there's a death in the family (or even the death of an ex), it's interesting to see what happens to the family dynamics. Just from my own experience over the past few months, I have had several family members who have reconnected with me or who have even made contact with me for the first time in decades. And some have drifted farther away.
Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining about the new connections. Not one bit. I love the new closeness that some of us are sharing. There have been things said and done in the past that can't be taken back - ever - but we should be able to move past them.
And yes, there are some things that I just need to get over as well - I admit it.
Bottom line is that family is important. As the years go by, and I miss important family events, I realize that more and more. It was very hard for me to sit here in Kansas this weekend and not be in Pennsylvania for Uncle Sam's funeral with my family, but I just couldn't afford to do it. A family reunion is in the planning stages for next summer, so hopefully we can make it back for that.
But on an amusing note - and because I'm nursing a splitting headache and can't stare at the computer anymore or form a coherent thought - my niece was at my parents' house over the weekend, and she went through some of the old photo albums and found some winners.
Here I am, circa 1977 with my Great Aunt Alice and my Great Uncle Bill. And yes, that is a pink polyester dress that I am wearing. The very same dress that I wore in our family picture that was taken in 1976 (or it might have been my sister's if I outgrew mine, because Mom put us both in matching pink polyester dresses for that very fashion-rich photo). I have no idea what I am playing with, but I'm guessing that it's the Slime that came in a little plastic can that I vaguely remember having when I was younger.