January 14, 2014

Abundant Family. Abundant Blessing.

Oh boy, so many babies in the last year! Since my little highlight of our dear friends' first child, Savannah, more babies arrived and are on the way. For me, the two most significant arrivals were those of my two new cousins, sweet baby Colette (my aunt Lisa's fourth, yes, FOURTH GIRL!) and beautiful little Cecelia (my aunt Susan's first little one!).

Colette is the 29th, and Cecelia the 30th grandchild of our family. THIRTY! Isn't that amazing? I have so much joy and gratitude for my big, giant family. This milestone just adds to it. I am reminded of how God has worked in our lives, providing us the blessings of plentiful friends, plentiful caretakers, and plentiful diversity in perspectives (a.k.a. opinions; this blessing is likely the number one reason I've developed/am developing thick skin :). Listening to my grandpa talk about his love for all his 10 children and his now 30 grandchildren is inspiring. For me, it's God's love in action.

**just a wee bit saddened by the fact that I don't have a picture of every, single grandchild at this point**

I love that my big family provides a wide variety of friends and shoulders to lean on as relationships ebb and flow. Sometimes, I may feel incredibly close with one of my cousins close to my age. At another point in my life, I may find more connection with one of my younger aunts (Susan is actually a month younger than I, and Lisa is only five years older). And then there are moments when I received bits of wisdom from one or more of the "older six" aunts and uncles in surprisingly perfect ways.

I love that my big family helps each other accomplish great things. A couple summers ago, just a few weeks before David and I moved to the east coast, the family spent half a week re-roofing my grandparents' house. Farmers never hire out--they can do it themselves! That is, with a bit of help from the folks down the road, or in our case, the 40 some-odd sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters and in-laws. :) What better showcase of love than to serve one another?

Scraping the 30+ year old roof, the roof my grandpa originally laid on his house.
I love how my big family continues to evolve. Little ones (including myself!) grow up. Those who were once little are having little ones of their own. I am watching my aunts and uncles adapt to growing older, providing us younger ones with more wisdom and always a good laugh. I have watched my grandparents change. My grandpa is much softer, more open than I remember him as a child. He offers his experience, wisdom and love gently. He provides comfort and a level head. He gives unconditionally. My grandma--always a strong lady--continues to demonstrate how tough she truly is. Her independence and determination (some might call this stubborn as an, yeah...) has been an example to all of us girls--daughters and granddaughters alike--that we are more than servants to the family. We are leaders. We are listeners. We are caregivers and hard workers. We are teachers, entertainers and mediators. 54 years my grandparents have been married. It is the love between them has created this family. That love continues to grow as the family grows. 54 years. 10 kids. 30 grandkids. 3 great-grandkids. Truly amazing. We are so blessed.

The farm that my grandpa built with his own hands
(and with the help of one of his uncles :)

Remnants of a tree my uncle cut down on the farm early last summer
One thing I can struggle with, though, is the physical distance between families and coordinating 50 different schedules. :) I always wish we could all be together--ALL of us--once a year. But it's hard. Fall of 2012, while we were living on the east coast, I was able to visit my aunt and uncle in Boston. I have such fond memories of them from when I was a very little girl (under the age of 5) living in California. I hadn't spent much time with them since then. What a blessing to be able to once again spend quality time and create new memories! If only moments like this, moments of connection could happen more often.

Now, my aunt Susan and uncle Joe have moved to Indiana. I grew up with Susan. We are practically the same age, only a month apart, so naturally we were paired together by our loving parents as best buddies. So I fought with her like a sister. It wasn't often we could find common ground. She is the baby of the kids. I am the oldest granddaughter. She liked make-believe. I preferred doing projects. She was the aunt. I was the niece. We couldn't be more different, but somehow as we grew older we have found so much in common. And now she's halfway across the country! Our babies won't grow up together (easily). Guess we'll have to make a better effort at using Skype :) I know we'll always keep in touch. We'll be able to pick up where we left off any time we do get to see each other. Plus, I have a little extra incentive to keep in touch now. Susan and Joe asked that I be the godmother to Cecelia, a responsibility I didn't fully understand until I had Samuel. Now I know my constant prayers will help us to stay connected as I strive to provide Cecelia the best spiritual parenting possible.    

So, this weekend I will kiss my dearest hubby goodbye as I leave for Indiana to celebrate Cecelia's baptism into the Church! One more little one welcomed into our family here on earth, and into our Catholic faith. We truly do have abundant blessing through our abundant family. God is good!

The amazing people who started it all 54 years ago. ♥    

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Beth - but now you've got me all weepy and feeling quite a bit far away!
    the Boston Auntie :)