My husband was an only child. His parents have passed. My parents' families have not been close, and with the exception of a dear Aunt and her family on my mother's side, my contacts with grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins are a distant memory. No big break up, just a drifting away.
And so my sister and I chose a different path. Our two families are close - our children are close as cousins. It is important to me, even as I struggle with senior issues in caring for my mother.
A joyful family tale: One day several years ago my sister plugged our maiden name into Google. The unusual last name produced an unusually small list of possibilities. In the list was the name of a cousin on my father's side of the family - a cousin who kept her maiden name when she married. We had memories of that family and playing with our cousins as children. Excitedly my sister contacted me at work wondering about contacting this lady with our cousin's name. My sister sent the email - giving some of our history, assuring her she was not "fishing" for anything and apologizing in advance for bothering her if she was not related to us. And my sister received an answer ... yes, indeed, this lady was related to us, and the rest is joyful history. We connected with a long lost cousin (actually 3 cousins and our Aunt), who had also wondered about us over the years. The thread of family memory and the joy of discovery after probably 50 years was overwhelming to all of us and still makes us happy when we relive that time. Although we reside in different states, we make a point of seeing each other regularly now, sharing our experiences and our hobbies, and keeping the up to date on our lives. The printed word does not do justice to how wonderful it is to have this small portion of our family "returned" into our lives.
Yes, family is really #1. This weekend we are meeting again at The Mannings!!! Family is very much on my mind.
Total steps: 4351 (cooking only - in preparation for Saturday)