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One of the things that I miss most, now that we're all adults and scattered is the time that family members spent together when we were kids. Not a holiday or rat killin' went by that we didn't gather at someone's house to celebrate by eating ourselves sick. Growing up in the country with few neighbors and two bratty little brothers, I longed to live "in town" where all the action was going on. The closest I've ever had to a sister was, and still is, my cousin who is a year younger. When her Dad died young of prostate cancer, I was seated with she and her mother and younger sister as one of the "children." Lord, I adored that man! He would roll over in his grave if he knew how strained the relations are between his "kids" these days.

There are albums stuffed full of photographs taken at family gatherings, and my mom laughingly notes that most every one features a catsup bottle right smack in the middle of the table. We hunted Easter eggs and opened Christmas and birthday presents and had backyard cook-outs. We made homemade ice cream and chased lightning bugs all the while doing everything in our power to irritate each other AND the adults. There was always a "kids table" back in the day, so that the grown-ups could attempt to carry on a conversation. Many summers, we traveled to Mississippi to attend Daddy's family reunions where I met folks I still don't know. Other times we piled into my grandmother's house and re-lived her life by inspecting the treasures she brought back from her extensive travel following my grandpa's death at age 45.

I miss those days...and always will. BabyGirl is the only child and only grandchild in my immediate family, and I feel really sad sometimes thinking about what she's missed by not having siblings. When I was younger, the brothers were just a horrible nuisance. Now, I cling to each of them as if they were a life raft...and in one sense, they are. Same with my sister/cousin. Our parents are aging and we are "the adults" now which, frankly, scares the crap out of me. I still feel like a little girl who needs her Mom and Daddy to be there for her. And I always will.

We've had out out-laws and in-laws and feuds just like every other family, but I wouldn't trade mine for anything because they are mine, warts and all. I don't remember who said this, but it struck me as one of the great truths of life the first time I heard it. " Home is where, when you show up, they have to take you in." My geographic location may change but I'll always know where to find home.

With my family. ^j^
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