College can be busy, busy, busy especially during the “Spring” semester, which is really the winter semester when you have lots of sub-zero temperatures and more than a dozen snows, and your college does not really believe in closing for snow days or cold days, it’s a busy grind.
So I am guessing Spring Break came at a good time, arguably. The timing was also just right for me and for my son to take a road trip to Dayton, Ohio for my cousin’s wedding.
This would be my youngest cousin on my Mom’s side one of ten children. His oldest brother and sister are over 20 years older. He has two cousins that are about the same age.
The good news is that all eight of his surviving brothers and sisters, my three brothers and I, and his Aunt and Uncle (my parents) were all able to attend the wedding.
This is perhaps the first time in one or more decades that all 13 first cousins were able to gather in the same state much less the same place at the same time.
We are scattered up and down the East Coast, in Ohio, and Mississippi, busy with work, children, grandchildren, one is retired, some like my daughter are dealing with “Senioritus”, others have children coming and going from college, study abroad, sports, music and the myriad events of busy lives.
So my son and I drove up the day of the wedding. It was a Friday afternoon, lots of time to chat on the way from Virginia to Ohio. He asked me about the groom, his bride to be, he knew he had a lot of Aunts and Uncles (second cousins) but he could not really picture most of them. Family events and reunions help some, but there are so many of them.
He asked, will any of my cousins (his generation) be there? I shared I did not know though my brothers and parents were all coming.
So we pulled up to the hotel, well almost to the hotel, and there was my mom and my youngest brother walking up the drive with a bag of sandwiches, they wanted to get a quick bite before the afternoon wedding.
We had not even gotten out of the car when I started pointing out a couple of his uncles (my cousins). We walked in the door, and immediately saw more uncles and aunts and their spouses and cousins (his generation this time).
Some were dressed up in Tuxes ready to head over to the wedding, some were still in “street” clothes about to head upstairs to change. All were buzzing…
Lots of hugs and kisses and they started greeting my son by name. Perhaps he wondered, how do they know my name, but they of course (as all cousins do) know all about the next generation, since each one is unique, and besides, they knew he was coming and he was standing next to me and perhaps he does look a bit like I did 35 years ago when we were all young.
So we get to the wedding and we start to gather at the back – two, four, eight, twelve cousins (my generation) and surprising quite a few of his cousins (my son’s third cousins they figured out while getting to know each other). Then we started to slow slip in and “invade” the grooms side, row after row of cousins and spouses, my Mom and Dad, then the next three generations.
While we waited, we felt compelled to snap hundreds of photos of each other, a joyous gathering.
It was a beautiful wedding, then there was the Groom’s side photos, the nine cousins, then with my Mom and Dad, then with me and my three brothers all proud to be there for the happy day.
Finally we all got in various cars and drove to the reception – the photo booth – tons of snapshots, some funny poses, some with costume props.
After a filling meal, then there was dancing. It was not too long before my son hit the dance floor with this aunt or that aunt, two aunts, three aunts or four aunts, many cousins. I think he talked with every aunt, every uncle, most cousins, and several non-cousins who were also there for the wedding.
I have to admit, his dancing was infectious and many of us joined in and before I knew it I was also dancing with cousins and nieces, celebrating my cousin’s wedding and the reunion of so many family members. It was a grand time.
Afterwards most of us gathered together again in the hotel foyer/and a side room to continue to share stories and catch up on the extended family news and even though none of us were hungry we somehow finished off 77 out of 80 White Castle cheeseburgers.
The next morning – round three with more stories from my cousins as we shared breakfast, then hugs and kisses as we started to prepare to head back to college, to our homes, and are separate yet connected lives.
My son seemed to enjoy dancing at the wedding as did I, one of my cousins told me 40 years ago, “Just you wait!” Perhaps she was predicting that there would be times for dancing, for weddings, for remembering family stories, and renewing family ties across the generations. Spring Break was over, I dropped my son at college and headed home where my daughter and I are experiencing Senioritus.
Good news and bad news, my daughter turned 18. The good news is she is still at home, she’s a high school senior so we have her with us for a few more months. More good news she got into five colleges including her first two choices.
Today it is raining and overcast but the snow is likely over until next Fall at the earliest. My daughter is on a band trip in Orlando, hopefully having a great time at Disney World, they performed in one of the Theme Parks today.
The bad news, my daughter turned 18. Since she’s our youngest, what does that mean? Does that make me old, well certainly a bit older and a tad grayer than when she was born? So far it seems ok, yet she is no longer a child, though I can still remember holding her on my shoulder in church while I balanced a hymnal and sang joyfully.
She will have to choose between some pretty good colleges, we are of course very proud of her, she has worked really hard.
The rain means, though my daughter is away and I don’t have to take her to play soccer or in an Ultimate tournament or…, that I also can’t take some of my “found” time to get my spring vegetables planted, or do a bit of trimming of the shrubs that need pruning.
More good news – I can see and sit on my sofa. It seems like it has been covered for a couple of years, well at least partially by daughter’s school books and assorted papers or her laptop, or English assignments, then there are the Spanish articles, the annotated notes, first draft, second draft, band schedules, and of course my daughter spends several hours a day sitting in the corner with her laptop and mobile phone reviewing, writing, researching.
The bad news is it gets a bit quiet when our busy high school senior is away even when it is only for four days. We miss our sofa, but I think we will miss our daughter even more.
Related see – Senioritis Checklist – Parent Version – Updated 2.17.14