Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Small Family

Small family grows!

As you know, I have an identical twin sister (Abby) who also happens to be my only sister, my only sibling. So it has just been the two of us rattling around the house with our parents. Our little family of four for two decades.

Mom's father and sister are both deceased, but her mom, our Grandma Esther is a resilient woman at 98 and a half years old. She's remarkable. So my mom is also from a small family.

Dad has one brother and a set of parents, naturally. I am embarrassingly out of touch with my cousin, Uncle, and that entire side of the family.

So let's count. My nuclear family: 4, Extended family: 5 (somewhat generous considering closeness.)

And yet I don't woefully mourn the size of our small, small family. Friends are amazed, acquaintances are confused that I don't regularly yearn for more siblings, more cousins, etc., etc. The honest truth of it is, I don't know any different. This is my normal. I can't imagine spending a week at some lake with a million cousins and a handful of chatty aunts!

Because in their place, we've created a huge family. Hugely close, hugely personal, hugely extended and untraditional.

My "Auntie Sandy" and "Uncle Kevin" are close family friends with vibrant children, who also have brilliant little children. They've taken me to dance class, picked me up from work, and have made ice-cream with us at 9:00 while doodling on Lisa Frank notepads.

So the small family grows.

My amazing God-parents have four kids ranging from 27 to 13, all of whom are beautiful, hilarious, are true siblings to Abby and me. And their family? Enormous. We do Thanksgiving together, cramming at least thirty people into a modest Midwest home. We vacation as one big family, we share "family jokes," because we are family.

And by now, this uniquely intimate family of four has grown tenfold. Yes, our everyday home life is shared between four people, incredibly close, very in sync. Arguments do not erupt over television channels; choreographing schedules is a basic line dance, uncomplicated, including everyone at everyone's events. Young ones are not teased about childish crushes, and older kids are not harassed by boogers.

It's quite nice, you know. Quiet at times, and lonely when both Abby and I left for college in tandem. But it's as though we've had a modified single-child experience. And siblings? I have a wonderfully rich sibling relationship with my "god-brothers/sisters" that allows me to go home once I've had enough sword fighting.

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