Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We are family

(Who's singing the Pointer Sisters song?)

We logged over 22 hours in a brand new Saturn Outlook this weekend as we traveled to Asheville, North Carolina to see my baby cousin graduate from college. I remember when he was born and now he’s a college graduate? Time does fly.

Brandon graduated with a degree in Atmospheric Sciences with a minor in Math. Not too shabby at all. He’s hoping to work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We all could have predicted this considering as long as we can remember his favorite channel has been The Weather Channel. When he’d come to visit the first thing he’d do is ask to turn on the TV. And I remember one time after I’d gotten married, he came to our house and much to his dismay, discovered we didn’t have cable. He had to go a whole evening without any weather news. (We have cable now, Brandon. Come to Lansing!)

It was a great time to catch up with family members we haven’t seen in years and I must admit I was amazed to see the cousins I’ve thought of as “my little cousins” are all grown up with husbands and jobs and wonderfully full lives.

All of the years I lived at home, the extended family on my Mom’s side lived on the East Coast. I have wonderfully fond memories of Christmases at my grandparents’ house in Florida and the times everyone would descend on my parents’ house and we’d be wall-to-wall people. There were great times of laughter and arguments and, more recently, political discussions where it became obvious a few cousins have gone to the dark side. We have deep thinkers in our family and I have always enjoyed listening to the exchange of ideas. (Except for the cousins on the dark side – when one of them told me I shouldn’t use paper towels I just lost it. Can you imagine having three children and not using paper towels? Besides, the amount of water and detergent used to clean cloth towels far outweighs the paper towel negatives. And I won’t even get into the discussion about how evil the car companies are for building SUVs. That was NOT a good conversation.)

Since I left the house and been married I’ve realized that lots of families don’t get together like mine does. That amazes me because I cannot imagine living life without the input of my extended family. I know they pray for me, love me, care for me. And I pray, love and care for each of them as well. We are one blessed family.

For the family members who weren't there, here are some pictures from the weekend:

I love this picture -- Brandon's parents were trying to find him among the sea of blue caps and gowns.

My cousin Ashley and my sister Heather

Brandon's family: Uncle Richard, Brandon, Erin, Aunt Corby, Jason and Lori

Brandon's sisters Erin and Lori, and Lori's husband Jason. We got a chance to get to know Jason better this time -- he's a great guy.

Brandon with Michael, Amy and Rebecca

Ashley and her husband Stephen (sorry about your eyes, Ash!)

Sean, walking with the next generation of cousins

It was Mother's Day weekend -- my sweet children made great cards for me, and waited patiently as Sean kept trying to get us all smiling at the same time.