It has been a very busy month. I just came back from a visit to Wisconsin, where I saw quite a large percentage of my mom’s side of the family. It was the first time I’ve been there without her, so it was a little sad from that perspective, but it was nice to be around people who remember her. People who knew her can laugh with me over all the crazy things she would do. It’s nice.
Family visits are always a little odd to me because I was raised geographically distant from both sides of my family. I have cousins, but we didn’t grow up together, which has always made me kind of sad. I have a brother, but he wasn’t born until I was fourteen and we’ve never lived in the same country. My aunts and uncles and grandparents all live in other states. I don’t even recognize most of my extended relations without someone whispering “great-grandfather” or “cousin” or “your father’s cousin”. For most of my daily life, family consisted almost entirely of my mother.
I think this is why I like visiting family so much – I do always wonder what it would be like to grow up with more regular interaction, but it’s really nice to be creating memories. And perhaps the wildest part for me is discovering all the things I have in common with people that I’ve had pretty limited exposure to. I’m pretty out there – and comfortable in my strangeness – so finding people that I share a lot of things in common with is rare. To find such a large group of people who think like I do, act like I do, look like I do and laugh like I do is really empowering. Some things must just be in the genes – which I find really comforting.