Cousins, cousins, and not-really-cousins

There are cousins and there are cousins; and then, there are not-really-cousins.

So, my mom had two sisters:  Joyce and Della Mae.  Mom — Lucy — had eight children; Joyce had nine; and Della Mae had three.  Joyce’s husband had two sisters who married men named Mack and Bene, respectively.  The Macks and the Benes had goodness knows how many kids.

The Orsos and the Corleys are cousins.  The Orsos, Benes, and Macks are cousins.  The Corleys are not-really-cousins to the Benes and the Macks.

I’ve laid out this confusing account to say this: My family reunion weekend has had only one teensy weensy tiny flaw

In my almost-perfect weekend, I’ve seen siblings, nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins, cousins, more cousins, and not-really-cousins.  I walked around introducing myself as “Dick and Lucy’s youngest daughter” and by saying, “Yes, my first name is ‘Mary'”.

I’ve seen my cousin Sabrina’s widower and his new wife, who came all the way from Uttica, Illinois, just to be with Jim’s first wife’s family and mostly due to Laura’s desire to know the family of her step-children and step-grandchildren.  What a wonderful woman!

Though my son couldn’t come due to his academic and work commitments, I don’t count that as the tiny flaw because it’s good for his life to stay on track.  Every minute of these two days has shimmered and shone with wonderful reconnection.  The tiniest teeniest flaw?  That I visited my Aunt Marilyn Dahl Corley, a little dynamo at 86, and forgot to take a picture!

I did manage to take a lot of pictures in the last two days, but have chosen to share one of my cousin Paul Orso, his niece Johanna Smythe Hallahan, and Johanna’s twelve-day old daughter Madeleine.  (And I hope I’ve correctly spelled the baby’s name!)  Something about this photo speaks to me of the very essence of our big, noisy, loving family.

Here’s to cousins, more cousins, and not-really-cousins, and all their partners and progeny.  See you in two years, all you Corleys, Macks, and Benes.  May the next twenty-four months bring nothing but joy for each and every one of you!


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