Tuesday, July 15, 2008

101 Cousins::Neutel Family Reunion 2008

Drive up to Uncly Harry & Aunt Deet's any year during the second week of July and you will find a string of campers and tents encircling a spring-fed pond. "One day, maybe we will make a complete ring around the pond. . ." I heard one of the Uncle's say last year. First instituted three generations ago by a family of nine, it would not be a stretch of the imagination. Already, there are more cousins than I can name. The Neutel family is, indeed, a big one, but more importantly, one that welcomes new folk into the fold with open arms.

I steamrolled into the family. In just over a year, Aidan and I were engaged, married and expecting our first baby. Other than the whirlwind introductions at our wedding, I had yet to meet the bulk of the family. And so I arrived that first year unprepared for the vastness of the family. So many relations! Having only five first cousins, myself, this was a completely overwhelming reality. And yet. . .

It is hard to put my sense of instant belonging into words. All I know is that I might have met upwards of 50 Aunts, Uncles and cousins that weekend, and each one made me feel that I was home among them. They cared about my well-being, and listened to the details I revealed about myself with genuine interest and rapt attention. They wanted to know me. And they loved me before they even got to the end of who I was. Their love came without hesitation, and it came fully. What a family.
{::Hibiscus in bloom::}
{::Sunscreened-up::Mr. Baggy pants & Denise::Mmm icecream::}
{::Stefan sharing with Uncle Harry::}
{::Belated birthday gift from Uncle Colin: Water guns (4-pack!)::}
{::Willow in a canoe::}
{::Isaiah cuddles::Gabriel drying off::}
{::Digital fixations::}
{::Camp food::}
{::Dragonfly for dinner?::}