Personally, I don't think there is anything more important than family. I always wanted a huge family....maybe that's because I came from such a small one. My mom was an only child, my dad was an only child and I am an only child. This means no aunts, uncles or cousins for me as well as no siblings. I dreamed of meeting my perfect soul-mate and having at least four children. Well, I met the guy I eventually married on a blind date and after a few dates, he told me that he was from a family of sixteen! Wow.....I was envisioning the family reunions right there and then. Of course they never happened.....at least not to the extent I was hoping for.
Realistically.....Life is not The Walton's and the amount of dysfunctional families out there is amazing. Being raised alone, with no siblings, I had no idea the kind of resentment that can brew within the confines of a large family unit. My husband advised me that out of all his siblings, he was only close to one brother, three years his senior. They had lived in the deep south all his life but now most of the siblings were scattered across the nation. He and his brother relocated here to my state in search of work and the rest is history. (I was the YANKEE of the family). I was determined not to have just one child but after my second one, I knew that I would be foolish to have more. My husband and I were not compatible at all. He was definitely not my soul-mate. We tried for years to make it work, but.....eventually we had to call it quits. I have since come to terms with the fact that my 'soul-mate' probably died in Vietnam, because I never did meet him.
That split resulted in a split of the feelings of our children. Our son blamed me for "ruining" everything with divorce, where my daughter understood and sympathized with me and my reasons. They are grown now and each is a parent. However, the division has continued. It deeply saddens me.....maybe more than some people because of my belief that family is a number one priority. I am happy to say that my in-laws (his brother and his wife) still consider me family and treat me as such. They have never blamed me for calling it quits. I am a cross-eyed optimist, I guess.....but I am hoping that, in time, my children will be close.......or at least closer than they are at present. I also wish that my son were more attentive toward me, but my daughter works twice as hard to make up for the fact that he isn't. God bless the day I had her for she is my joy. As it stands now, our family reunion could take place in a teacup and we'd still have room for the band.
So, all of you who have large families....enjoy, enjoy enjoy. You may get frustrated once in a while over something "Aunt Millie" or "Cousin Olive" did or said.....but they're family and they belong to YOU. Pass the potato salad please......and, oh yeah - Keep smilin'!