Family Weddings

 Aunt Kathy, (cousin)Susan and me
My summer began with the happiest of celebrations, 2 family weddings.  My cousin Paul and his bride, Bridget had a beautiful beach wedding.  The following weekend we celebrated the marriage of my Uncle Stephen and his new wife, Lynne.

Dancing, eating, picture taking and reconnecting, I enjoyed every moment of celebrating.  Love found, families formed and made 'official', what's not to love?

There were moments of sweetness and hilarity. Paul's 16 year old son and best man delivered the best toast I have ever witnessed.  It was heartfelt and hilarious, delivered with the timing of a late night talk show host. He ended the toast by telling his dad and new step mom that he loved them more than anything in the world, as their eyes filled with tears and a collective sigh was breathed by the guests, he added "except for the Patriots."

It really did look like white chocolate!
Earlier in the evening my cousin Susan's daughter, Lara, sneaked a bite of the light house shaped white chocolate party favor, only to discover that she had bitten into a bar of soap.  Her face in that moment was priceless.

Uncle Stephen and me
 Aunt Nora, me and (cousin) Reema
Stephen and Lynne both have grown children and six grandchildren between them.  When they shared their first dance you could feel not only the love between them, but also the love for them by everyone in the room. I sat a table with my aunts, cousins and children of my cousins.  I felt content, grateful to be with family.  Happy to be a part of the celebration.

There is one detail of these weddings that is  remarkable for me.  Both of the grooms are part of my birth family. Paul is the son of my birth mother's brother, Rob.  Stephen is the brother of my birth father, Tim.

I have shared in previous blog posts that I have found 'reunion' complicated in many ways.  One place that I have experienced a sense of uncomplicated belonging is in my extended birth family. Aunt, uncle, cousin, first cousin once removed (or is that second cousin?) are not words that trigger conflict, loyalty issues or role confusion for me.  You can have lots of extended family members.  It's so liberating!  You can form deep relationships with those you connect with, and just see the others at weddings and funerals.  It's so easy!

Aunt Kathy, Susan, Uncle Rob, Samantha (Paul's daughter)  (cousin) Paul and me
Regardless of how complex birth parent reunion was for me, both of my birth parents truly loved me and wanted to know me.  My extended birth family has been amazing from the moment I met them.  I am grateful that they included me in their lives and welcomed me as one of their own.  They didn't have to, they could have just said 'glad to meet you' and moved on with their lives.

In the spirit of celebrating love, I am celebrating the love of my family, both birth and adoptive.  Sure, you need a keen memory, and perhaps a chart to keep them all straight, but who's luckier than me?