Aunties, Cousins...and getting older

As I sat across the table from two of my aunts last night, surrounded by several of my male cousins (not sure why the girls didn't show up), to celebrate the shared birthday of my cousin Bill and myself...I found myself not looking for a smile that would remind me of my mother or eyes that shared her same glance, but instead I was just mesmerized by their beauty...their amazing brilliant light that shines so brightly after all their personal hardships and trials. 

Their sons were there, and I could see that amazing spirit encompass them in the presence of these two amazing women.  The men who love these women...their sons and their doubt as captivated by the strength and radiant glow of my aunts as I was.

I share their grief with them over my mother, their sister, who passed away 19 years ago.  I see how they watch my own children with those ever watchful, observant if they are memorizing everything they see so they can share with my mother when they see her again.  But sometimes it feels like more than that...sometimes my aunts are my mother.  Not as a surrogate, no...sometimes they simply are. 

We spent the evening talking of happy times and whole heartedly making possible plans to go to Ireland together.  We talked about Ravens and football, who has electric and when others might get it, and cakes...there seems to be a conversation about cakes everywhere I go...could be due to the fact I usually bring one to any gathering and love surprising my cousins with new creations!  I presented my aunt Mary with a little heart shaped box I crafted from sugar gumpaste and filled with dear sweet Mim...

We did not talk about the painful loss of my cousin just a few months ago, we celebrated life last night...we celebrated as family and friends.  And as I drove the hour and a half back home, I did a lot of thinking.  I miss my family...that cousins and my aunts.  No where in the world have I ever felt the way I do when I am with them...

Family isn't always what you think it is...and not always who you think it should be...but when you find your family, hold them tight...and never let them go!  I lost 15 years of memories with my family, but I gained myself in the process...something I had to go through and something I will share in later blogs...but I do have my family again...and I love them, unconditionally.  This is a year of celebration for me.  I am going to approach 40 by giving 39 everything I've got!  That includes more time with the people I love, no matter how long of a drive it is to get to them...