The last of my visiting cousins left early this morning to head back to Oregon. That group comprised Joey, his wife Laurie, and their girls, Elizabeth and Ashley, the 19-yr-old twins, Katie, The Wild Man's age and in full possession of a sensitive and curious mind, and Julianna, 11, the spitfire. We got to keep Elizabeth for the night on Monday (she is at college so she and Bo had a lot to talk about). And most came for lunch yesterday as we hung out and had great laughs. Ashley had to miss out on this part because she headed for Ukraine on a missions trip.
On Saturday night we hosted the Illinois/Iowa cousins. Kristen (on the left here) and Stasha (on the right) came rolling in for dinner and stayed into the wee hours of Sunday morning. I had never met Stasha. She moved to California in 1993 and, being the functional family we are, no one ever told us. The fact is, no one really has much of a relationship with anyone else and truth-telling is at a minimum. (If the craziness on both sides of this family tree gets any deeper, the Grand Canyon will look like a mud puddle in comparison. Ah, Egypt....I do NOT long for you. I LOVE the Promised Land!) In fact, she never knew she had family in California. And Kristen we saw, for the first and last time, once, when she was 15.
So here we are, the remnant, the truth-tellers. Some of the cousins and one Aunt, from both sides of my family, willing to look the facts in the eyeball and move forward. Willing to do the hard work of changing family legacies, by God's goodness and grace to us, and then gladly Lampooning everything within range, for sanity's sake. No "Leave It to Beaver" here. In fact, I think most everything must have gotten left to Beaver. Except the humor - who has more fun than a bunch of refugees from wacked-out families? And what we lack in family numbers we make up for in the largest and most supportive group of true friends - some of them refugees themselves. And the best thing about friends is you get to pick them. O yea, O YAY!
So goodbye, family. Thank you for the reconnect. I hope it grows and blossoms as we've all headed down our different paths of reconstruction. God bless us everyone. Especially the goofballs like Junlianna here with as many grapes in her mouth as she can shove in.