Last June, nearly my whole immediate family gathered in Belford Northumberland to remember my Granny, who had left us at the ripe old age of 93 the autumn before.  The American contingent of the family, and my youngest cousin (who had recently relocated to Japan) were unable to be there for her funeral, so we planned something different.

Cancer fucked it up.  Cancer seriously sucks.

So my brother, husband and I went over, and represented our little family.  And in the heady rush of being surrounded by a lot of people who look a lot like us, we all committed to seeing each other more often than every six or seven years.  Trips were planned and itinerary discussed.

But we are of a generation of big words and smaller follow through, so while the dream sounded amazing, it also sounded far away and slightly unlikely.  And then… all of a sudden … it wasn’t.  And on Wednesday night, my youngest cousin (who sometimes feels like what I would guess having a sister feels like) arrived in Philadelphia with her husband all the way from Tokyo.  And Thursday morning dawned and my brother and his French lady-love flew into Baltimore.  And today, as I sit on the local train all the way home to Thorndale, my aunt and cousin arrive from Scotland.  And for a few brief days, we will be a big family, all together, looking shockingly alike, from many different cultures.

I never knew that not all families are like our family.  The amount of emails bouncing from the U.K, Italy, Australia, the U.S. and very occasionally Japan would make your head spin.  But that’s what makes it sort of cool.  No matter how much distance exists, no matter how many wounds have been inflicted (mostly.  some are never forgotten as I am patently aware) ~ we are each other’s family.  And we not only love each other, but we like each other.  No matter how much time lapses between visits, and hairstyles change and people get married and divorced, it feels like no time has passed at all.

I feel overwhelmingly full of love right now.  And so happy to have my brother at home for a little, and my cousins here (for the first time ever!!) and my Mama to be surrounded by two of her sisters (the good ones, wink wink).  I cannot wait to get off the train, and spend days just being part of this big, breathing thing called family.

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