My family has been through a lot in the last several years. The plus side is that as a result, I have gotten to see them more than ever before. The downside is that it has only been for funerals. So when my cousin and his wife decided to go back to Leavenworth, where they were married, to celebrate their 10th anniversary, they decided to make it a family reunion as well.
I was nervous as I expected something bad to happen to one of us either on the way there or home as we seem to be cursed, but 8 family members made it to central Washington and 8 family members made it back home. I ended up going up to Tacoma Thursday night so I could pick up my aunt and cousin and not have to get up at 4:00 in the morning to do so and still get to Leavenworth around lunch time. I was not happy about the extra cost of doing this, but am glad I got to have that one-on-one time with her. Three of the four deaths in our family from 2004-2008 were on my dad's side of the family, (the fourth being James) and this aunt is now the matriarch of that side of the family, which is a role she takes seriously.
There were some stressful moments along the way. It was Oktoberfest this weekend, so there were a lot of people milling around. Trying to appease 8 people-three of whom were children who got bored easily-and keep track of everyone in a crowded, hot setting got on my nerves after awhile-especially when I got to the point of starving. Luckily, we had cell phones to help keep tabs on each other and didn't end up staying downtown all day. We took a side trip to Tumwater Canyon (three whole miles and a world away) and I found my calm center sitting on the rocks taking pictures while everyone else climbed all over the rocks.
But visiting at the cabin was a completely different story, however. I loved sitting there talking with my aunt, my brother, my cousin and his wife and listening to my nephews and cousin playing in the background. It was great to see how quickly they bonded after an initial shyness. I did have a couple of tough moments though. My cousin had put together a video montage of pictures from various trips and day-to-day activities from the first ten years of their marriage. Watching that, I started to cry a couple of times. I want that so bad. I kept thinking that I will never have that. I will never be showing a video like this at my 10th anniversary family reunion, mixed with if I ever find love again, I wonder if Cousin would put together something like this for me to surprise Hubby with at the wedding?
My other bad moment was Sunday morning when we were leaving. My brother and I drove as it was close enough for us to do so but everyone else flew in from the East Coast. When it came time to leave, my youngest nephew's glasses were no where to be found. We sent those who had the three hour drive to Seattle off to catch their planes and I stayed behind to help with the search for the wayward glasses-which were in a suit case. When we turned off in different directions and I waved good-bye, I found myself with tears in my eyes. Even though it was just the two of us and the dogs, I miss my family. I miss having my own little family that I wasn't born into and I miss being around the family I was born into. I thought about looking for a job in Coeur d'Alene for about two minutes, but I know I won't find one and the truth is I don't want to move back to Idaho. My life is here. The things I enjoy doing are here-I would be so bored there. Even my brother has said I would be so miserable if I went back and that he can see how my life is here-how happy living in this area makes me. (When James died, he was going to try to convince me to move home; he said he knew I was where I belong after being here for 10 minutes).
I'm just going to have to make more of an effort to get over to see my family more often, and hopefully one day we will be reuniting because I'm the one with something joyous to celebrate.