Today my cousin Emily visited from Tennessee. While we weren't that "close" growing up (I'm ten years older than she is), I feel an innate sense of "closeness" to her that I don't feel with friends that I've had for 20+ years (the exception there being of course, my best friend who is more sister than friend and who supercedes most bonds of blood). There is something about FAMILY. Something about sharing that bond, that connection, that sense of history and self and yes, even DNA, with someone else.
I am always so happy to have her visit, even if it's just for a day every six months or so. It gives me a feeling that Reagan is bonding with her roots as well, anchoring to something bigger than she is.
Growing up, I always had cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and great grandparents around, in my life, my business, my house. Sometimes they were annoying, sometimes I hated them, sometimes it was comforting. Through it all, it was family. And it's something that I've grown to miss since growing up and moving away.
That isn't to say my husband doesn't have family around here. He does. And I love my in-laws SO MUCH. They're wonderful people and I've developed a lasting, family bond with them, as parents and FRIENDS. He also has aunts and uncles around...and cousins too...and I like a good few of them. And some I could love without. But they just aren't CLOSE. And I wouldn't say my family was close either...more just a FAMILY--always THERE. Always sharing something...food, self, that strange tie that only blood can forge. THERE. TOGETHER...so maybe we were "CLOSE".
And I miss that for Reagan. I want her to grow up with that tangeled mess of family and the sense that no matter how far away you go or how long it's been since you've been home, you belong to someone else. You belong to this group of people, who, no matter what you've done, what you've said, what you've thought, they HAVE to love you AND DO. And they're there for you.
Reagan will never have first cousins. Josh is an only child...and I doubt my brother will ever settle down enough to reproduce..and I honestly hope he doesn't (wild child!) so for her, I can only hope that we have many more kids...that she will belong to a large family of grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, and long distance second cousins, aunts and uncles.
That annoying, loveable, can't live with them and sure can't live without them, family unit. That sense of belonging, that pull towards home and duty, safety and comfort.