Last weekend, I spent 6 hours in the car to get to Granbury, Texas, for a family reunion. It's a massive group of people on my Dad's side - my grandmother's first cousins and their progeny. I'm on the third-cousin (fourth generation) level, and we have five generations that attend. Here's my level:
When I was little, Garrett and Grant would come to Grand Lake for one week every summer. It was a constant. Sometimes their other cousins or my other cousins would be there, but the three of us always showed up. The first day, we weren't quite sure of each other, but by the last of the week we were inseparable. We played a lot of Monopoly until the middle of the night, slept in our swimsuits, and once Garrett drove my Uncle Kenny's Jet Ski (the stand up kind) into the shore of our cove. I basically worshiped Garrett, even though he is one month to-the-day YOUNGER than me. He is still cooler.
Everyone is so grown up now. I think the fact that I just wrote that makes me old, but I still feel behind. My cousin Corey, who is just a year or two older than me, is married and 8 months pregnant with her SECOND child. Garrett is married and his wife is very pregnant with their first child. That's what I learned this weekend. That I should have a ring on my finger and be knocked up. I'll get back to you on the progress of that. I sure WANT a baby, but I know I don't need one right now. I'm barely grown up enough to take care of me. Give me a few years to get it together, I guess.
The other thing about a weekend reunion is that I didn't have very much time to talk to the people I really wanted to catch up with, and it still felt like the first day syndrome with my cousins I hadn't seen in 8 years. If we would have had a few more days, you would have seen people in their twenties spend five hours playing a very intense and competitive real estate game. Instead, I still felt slightly insecure like I am the gray sheep of the family - not pretty enough, not successful enough, not married enough? One of my second cousins once removed (that's right, I understand that shit) told me I was pretty now. Now?
I think reunions are good for second-guessing life choices, but at least this is preparing me for my 10-year high school reunion next May. Maybe I'll Romy and Michele it - I use post-it notes enough to make it work.
AND there is talk to reunite the parts of the family that consistently came to the originals at Grand Lake, and to spend a little bit more time, and I think that would be loads more fun. Without all the distractions (Can you refer to some members of your family like that? I can.) we'd get to talk, laugh, play games, drink, swim - everything important about the family and summer combination. Also, when I'm a grandmother, and I organize this stuff, I'm going to tell my kids and grandkids that they don't get to bring friends. If I would have brought friends during my summer reunions growing up, I would have never bonded with Garrett and Grant*.
To the fun stuff:
1) We got in one round of spades - Oklahoma (Marla and me) vs. Texas (Lori and Garrett). I won't tell you who won, but let's just say BOOMER SOONER! Which is good, because I hate losing.
2) I got to hang out with Audrey Grace SO MUCH! We decided we are Best Friend Cousins (BFCs) for life.
We went shopping together (where I bought a dress she said LOOKED SO GOOD on me), we swam together (where she broke out into Journey's "Don't Stop Believin" - pretty impressive for an almost 11 year old), and we screamed on the Sea Doo together. When I was getting tips from her on working out (she's a gymnast and works out 17 hours a week), and I told her I wanted to lose some more weight, and she said, "YOU'RE NOT FAT!" See, you love her, too.
*The fact that I have a Grant and Garrett in my family, and that I'm dating a different Grant who has a brother Garet isn't confusing AT ALL. When I was at the reunion, and I was telling someone that Grant (my boyfriend) couldn't make it because he had to work, someone overheard and told me that Grant was on his way. Too much explaining.