There's something special about my family. I'm sure everyone's family is special in it's own way, but over the past few months/years, I have been appreciating my family more and more and I feel like I need to articulate it. I'm going to use yesterday as a perfect example.
During the day, I skyped with my cousin (let's call him Dblg). He's going through some stuff, and he comes to me for advice and a laugh. I adore the fact that we are more like brother and sister than cousins. We have a fantastic bond and we talk almost every day, and he comes up to visit me more often than he visits his mom. I also texted with my cousin Princsvspa. In my Monumental Closet Purge of 2016, I have come across some shoes I think she'd like so we talked for a while about shoes and makeup and fashion. Like girlfriends do. There was also a group text between three cousins, my husband, and me, which was full of laughs and memes and sarcasm (that's what we do best).
Yesterday evening, I got a text (a longgggg text) from an aunt of mine. She was pretty upset about something and texted me to vent about it. We texted back and forth for a good while, as I would do with my friends. This is the same aunt who I spent a good chunk of time gossiping with on Christmas Day. And finally, when I got home from work there was a package waiting, addressed to TJK from another aunt. TJK opened it, and inside was an autographed book that my aunt thought she would like. TJK called her immediately and it was really just a lovely moment and they had such a fun conversation on the phone. It all fills me with happiness.
For most people I know, their immediate family is their priority and beyond that, it's only holidays for the rest of the fam. Or, their friends outrank all family, all the time. For me, I feel so lucky to have these great people on my side. I mean, my one uncle calls me out of the blue, fairly often, just to say "Hey you, what's going on, I miss you and I love you!" How great does that feel? And I have another uncle who is a little cold and hard to know, but even he has warmed up recently. In a conversation with this uncle and some cousins, Dblg kept using the word "pussy" to refer to someone who was weak. I called him out on it an explained why (feminist shit, right there). This uncle looked me right in the face and said, "Wow, I never considered it that way. I never thought of the meaning of it. You've made me think." And for him to stop and consider what I was saying....this was a huge moment for him, and it meant something to me. He acknowledged me as a person, as an equal, and that made us closer.
Last July when we were in London, two aunts and an uncle were traveling through Scotland and England as well. We made a point to meet up at a pub near Trafalgar Square and spent several hours having drinks and talking and laughing. Then we helped them learn the Tube (took them to the kiosk to buy passes and read the map with them and walked them to their train), and that was an adventure. How awesome to have family members who I'd actually seek out in another country just so we could hang out and talk, the same as we do in the US.
I guess my point is that I feel really lucky to have these people in my life. I don't see them as a burden or an annoyance or as people I "have" to see over the holidays. I see them as friends - nearly every cousin and nearly every aunt and uncle. I feel truly lucky.