Jacob's first sleepy words this morning were, "When are my cousins coming?" I told him lunchtime, and group by group they arrived for a late lunch, all six cousins, three aunts and an uncle. The cousins were rowdy, happy, deliciously excited. An afternoon playing hard in the park did nothing to dampen their energy (while their grandmother snatched a nap), and by 5:00 p.m. we were off for a party with the extended family at Joe T. Garcia's. We counted--there were 17 adults and 17 kids. Someday they may outnumber us! The occasion was to give everyone a chance to visit with my nephew Russell, who was supposed to deploy to Iraq in March. He says now the word is May, but you never know--they could say tomorrow, "Pack your bags. You're leaving in a week." Whatever, it was a great occasion for a get-together and wonderful to see all those generations. There was a great-grandmother there, so we had four generations. I think she and my brother were the eldest, in their late 70s, and five-month-old Madelyn McClain was the youngest. Wonderful, happy, noisy, all talking at once. The kids ran wild but fortunately stayed in our corner of the restaurant--we had a nice secluded area--and then after supper went outside to play on the patio (with supervision). I can't say enough about how blessed I am with family--some of us there had been through tough times together and joyous times, we've "grown up" together, as if we ever really get there, and now we're raising grandchildren. And the adult children are all such wonderful, family-minded people, who care a lot about each other. It was fun to watch my children with their two cousins--that sense of belonging that comes with having cousins is being passed down from generation to generation. I have very few cousins and have lost touch with all of them, except the one in Canada whose affairs I'm responsible for--an entirely different relationship. So I am so grateful that my children and grandchildren have this strong sense of belonging to a large family that cares about all of them.
Jacob went off tonight to sleep in the garage apartment with Uncle Colin and Aunt Lisa. He had maybe a brief moment of hesitation when he kissed his mom and dad good night, but he will sleep soundly, knowing he is in safe and loving hands. Family. What more is there to say?