I've talked about my very large, very loud, very Italian family a few times in this space. Whenever and wherever we gather the venue shrinks and the noise level triples which is basically why we are so much fun. This weekend was no different - although brought together by a less than ideal circumstance, we were able to spend time just soaking up each other. As expected, we only really all come together for big life events so as many of the family came together as were able to remember Tammy and support her parents, Tara and Terry.
That evening we all gathered at my aunt and uncle's where we ate until we were filled, laughed until we cried and told lots and lots and lots of stories. I still find myself as "the kid" among them all. Tara brought some old pictures filled with images of aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, and godparents that had also passed away.
And although the stories never really change - I find myself this wide-eyed kid that used to sneak cookies lost in wonderment, just loving every minute of these "incredible tales". My uncle's time in California, the year my cousin took a semester off of college and forgot to let her parents know (seriously, amazing), when a certain relative got stuck in a tree from too much, ehm, fun... , how my grandmother stepped on the kids toes in church if they weren't listening, the pictures of my godfather on the phone
taking bets talking business... they go on and on and on.
But this night was different - because y'all... I AM ONE OF THE BIG PEOPLE. We have little people of our own. They are running around, acting crazy, sneaking cookies only pausing to listen in on whatever the big kids are saying. They want stories about us when we were kids. They want to know the crazy things we did. They want to hear about our family gatherings and they want to see the pictures of us when we were their age.
Not pictured: 15ish kids under the age of 18 - we had no idea where they were - hope we rounded them all up. ;)
Time marches on y'all. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, but never stopping. A split second ago I was falling into the crawfish tank at a family picnic, screaming and crying and super upset that I'd have to wear my [boy] cousin's undies and now I'm telling my kids not to go too close to the creek because they spotted a gator last week.
One day they will look at this picture, point to all the faces and try to remember what brought us all together. I hope what they realize is that no matter what brings us together, we always find the time to connect. To make a little noise and laugh through our tears.