This weekend was crazy hectic for me. I had more to do than usual and generally I would be annoyed and frustrated for not being able to be lazy and relax. I should also say that the 2 previous weekends I was bored to tears but I wanted to be as lazy as possible due to the fact that every weekend for the next month is straight booked.
The festivities were mainly family based which I love more than almost anything else in this world. This year I was sick during Christmas and New Years then again on Easter and St. Pattys day, which is one of my fave little princess’ birthdays. When I miss big family functions I feel sad. I know many might cringe at the thought of a huge family gathering for multiple reasons but although my family does sometimes induce stress and annoyance I am not sure I feel more comfortable or more like myself anywhere else. I needed this weekend more than I realized. We are a huge Italian bunch full of immigrants, a few Irish and Greeks have managed to sneak in as well but we all fit like perfect puzzle pieces into this insanely large group I call my family.
I spent most of Saturday at a birthday party for one of my cousins daughters at his house which managed to be full of their friends, his wife’s family and a good deal of mine all preparing for his sons baptism the next day. It seemed like the whole world was in town and in his house. The food kept coming, the wine was definitely flowing and most importantly the laughter was contagious. In most settings too much wine causes problems but not for us. We get louder, funnier and grabbier. We are a touchy feely bunch so if you aren’t related but within goosing proximity drunk or sober you probably will get molested, lovingly of course.
That night a few of us went back to one of my Aunt and Uncles houses, who have a duplex housing another cousin and her husband with their son. Also, in town was her little sister (who are both sisters to the cousin who’s son was being baptized/daughters birthday party we just left). My family doesn’t have many girls/women in it which makes us have a closer bond I think. My Aunts are like other mothers and my female cousins are more like sisters than anything else.
My cousin (the little sister) and I have been sharing a bed at every sleepover event ever since she was born, no matter where we were. I cannot recall one time we were together somewhere and we weren’t put together to sleep ever in my life. Now it is just a habit it doesn’t at all matter that we are in our 30′s. I am also in charge of rubbing her back from the moment I walk in the door to the moment one of us leaves to go home. It isn’t even a question, it is just what has happened now for over 20 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way. She finds me where ever I happen to be seated and turns her back to me, without even saying a word I am immediately aware of what I am supposed to do.
Once we got back to my Aunt, Uncles, & cousins house we promptly gave her son a bath. Yes, 3 of us were in the bathroom trying to occupy the boy/make jokes about how until we were teenagers we all either bathed together or stayed in the bathroom talking until we were all showered and ready. I am not sure how or why this was the case but that is just how it was. My 2 cousins and I stayed up late, made more jokes about our family and current events, chased after her son and watched cartoons in hopes of lulling the tiny ball of energy to sleep.
In the early morning we were woken up to the smell of pancakes and bacon and the baby not so quietly running around like a lead-footed beast. Either way the sight of pancakes and bacon made up for the early harassment and the cute little face that kid has. I can’t really say no to home cooked breakfast especially since my cousin has an over achiever situation going on with her wifely duties and since we are Italian cooking is very serious business so I was well aware whatever I was about to put in my mouth was going to be absolutely delish.
Soon enough my father and grandparents showed up which is always an event due to the crazy nature of all 3. This tends to make even the most mundane of events exciting and not a little bit nerve wracking. I stayed behind with my grandparents and father while everyone else went to church. I opt out of any and all religious events where possible as does my father. My grandmother recently started this because now she gets dizzy spells (no one has ever witnessed one but she swears she has them) anytime she leaves the house which leads me to believe she probably has some form of agoraphobia, or saw it on TV and wants someone to recognize her illness so she can beat my grandfather in infirmity. She has this competition going with him unfortunately he is unaware of it. My grandfather is short an appendage, his leg, due to 200000000000 years worth of smoking and drinking. He also prefers to say behind now because most churches don’t have an open bar and BYOB is frowned upon. My father doesn’t like to be too far away from any food source and is incredibly inappropriate so places like church or libraries are not establishments that appreciate his presence. I was forced to keep this elderly brood in line whilst everyone else was off watching a baby get drowned for the sake of Jesus or whatever.
After little baby was officially deemed part of the cult, we all ran to take over a quaintly titled restaurant Cafe Italiano (yes, we go to Italian restaurants because some of the old Italians have never had anything else and you have to please them because they are the loudest, biggest and hold the longest grudges). The family completely took over the entire top floor of this place. As per usual, everyone goes from table to table catching up, food galore, kids running around unattended, upset waiters/waitresses, tons of laughter, and last but certainly not least booze flowing freely.
I really forgot how much I needed days like that. Fun isn’t even the word for what last weekend was. Unlike most families, we are all so comfortable with each other that almost no topic is off limits to joke about and there is nothing but love from all of us. I don’t think we stopped laughing for more than a few minutes at a time and that was strictly for chewing purposes. I am never more myself than when I am with them. Anytime I am feeling off or out of sorts all I need is a few hours with one of my relatives and I am rejuvenated. I felt like an epic movie or book has just ended when we all broke away to go home. We never really spend long periods of time apart, which may be odd to some but I can tell when it has been too long away from my family. It’s much like how a smoker knows they need another cigarette. Having such a large family it is almost impossible to go even a week with out seeing someone I am related to which makes being so close that much easier. I hate to use the word blessed ever, but I am not sure there is another word for my feelings towards my family. The phrase “It takes a village” is true in my case. We all grew up together. As kids every weekend my cousins and I were together while the adults were upstairs cooking and setting up for meals. No event was too big or small to have everyone over even if it was just a nice day out. Now that we are all older and growing up, spending large amounts of time together does get difficult. I often wonder how are parents and grandparents pulled it off so effortlessly. I am so lucky and even more grateful to have all of them. Our family is unlike any other and without them there is no way I would be who I am or even where I am at this point in my life. Words cannot even appropriately express how much I love and need those crazy bastards in my life!