Monday, June 28, 2010

Family Resemblance

This past weekend was the annual summer picnic for my husband’s side of the family. Not only were most of my mother-in-law’s siblings and their spouses in attendance, but many of their children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren were there. And since my mother-in-law was one of eight siblings, that’s a LOT of uncles and aunts and cousins to recognize and remember, especially because there’s such a strong family resemblance everywhere you look!
Ryan, being the youngest family member in attendance, was a hit with everyone. He happily splashed in the lake with Daddy and a bunch of the younger generation, he sat on a towel on the beach and grabbed fistfuls of sand, looking at them wonderingly, he allowed himself to be passed from person to person. He was especially interested in several cousins wearing shiny necklaces and bracelets. He spent a good deal of time gazing intently and seriously into each face, as if looking for glimpses of his own face there.
And he certainly saw those glimpses! Several people commented on the bright blue, almond-shaped eyes he shares with his Bammy and his Aunt Holly. Others remarked on his broad shoulders and height, noting that he was likely to be tall and solidly-built like Uncle Harold’s boys. I myself noticed one or two sets of familiar dimples on various cousins.
Coming from a small family myself, I consider my family quite close-knit. When you only have 5 cousins, you naturally know them better (and get together with them more often) than families with dozens and dozens of first cousins. But I find it delightful that the large Simpson clan makes such a concerted effort to get together often and to be close to each other. Branches of each family passed along news of their members who weren’t in attendance; messages were sent back home from the attendees to cousins and siblings who didn’t make it this year. Older cousins compared stories about their children; younger ones shared summer plans and commiserated about the past school year. Thanks to Facebook, some bits of news had already been passed around – which was a wonderful help for new family members like me who are still trying to remember which Kate just graduated from college and which one is still in high school, or which uncle and aunt are the grandparents of the baby twins who couldn’t make it, or who’s up visiting from Florida and who just moved back to California.
After all, I need to make sure I know what’s going on with all these people who look like my son!

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