Jul 18, 2006

My Norwegian Cousins

We’ve got too many people. That’s what Larry said. Too many people are coming to the wedding. What, so "too many people" want to see us get married? When did it get to be too many? 89 was OK, but now 101 isn’t?

I wouldn’t know how to get married with less than a hundred people. I’ve got 21 first cousins. They all got married (so that's 42) and most of them had multiple kids. Some of their kids have kids. I have nephews and nieces who've procreated and I'm only NOW getting married. More on that later.

Fourteen of those 21 cousins are the Thompsons, my Mom's Norwegian side. I showed Larry a photo of one of our yearly family reunions. In Solvang of course. This photo wass from 1983, I was 21 years old.

Cousin Sherri’s son Jay is in the picture, back row far right. He was only 8. Now Jay is 31, married with 3 kids (and a fourth on the way). Thompson Cousins, with their spouses and children, make up over 60 people. If Larry wants to complain about inviting them all to the wedding, he should have married me when I was 22 and there were only 30 of us. But we didn’t know each other then.

He's not complaining. He's just new to the big family idea. His extended family amounts to four people: a mother, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. And only two of them can come to the wedding. Larry’s marrying a social girl with a social family. What can I say?

This past weekend, Larry went with me to my cousin Deedee’s house. DeeDee’s youngest daughter Haileigh just graduated from 8th grade. Haileigh gave us a piano recital. Then she played the Irish drum while her father played the guitar, and they sang Irish worship music. It was lovely.

And two more of my cousins (deedee's sisters) were there: Roxanne and Janice! Roxanne, her hubby Jeff, and their three kids were visiting from Uzbekistan, where they do outreach. Cousin Cousin Janice and her two daughters, who are in YWAM. Sherri wasn't able to come, but her two children, Jay and Tia, were there. And Jay and Tia's own kids. Plus, friends from Deedee and Scott's church came to hear Haileigh play. It was a lot of fun.

I remember as a teenager feeling like I was in a privileged position compared to my cousins, because I was going off to college. Most of them got married out of high school. But I went to college, grad school, I studied abroad. I had the world in front of me.

Now at 44. I’ll have a family of two people. And I’m witnessing my cousins and the family that fills up their living room with noise and love and music and laughter and praise and prayer. And I think, so who’s got the privilege?

Here’s my Norwegian family tree. All of my first cousins are married, 99% of them have kids. And some of those kids have kids.

And then there are the Isaacs. Only Nancy is married so far. One could attribute it to social and ecucational conditioning. All of us Isaacs kids went to college and grad school. Collegiates get married later. But my brothers are in their fifties. I'm 44. I think it's less due to college education and more due to family experience. My father was such a broken sick guy, he did so much damage, it’s a miracle any of us had relationships, let alone got married.

Thank GOD we grew up with faith. At the same time, my mom often used her faith tBut my mom used her faith to hide from a lot of life’s problems. Like uh, my dad. And much of my siblings and my experience with faith has been having to undo bad habits and beliefs. That's the thing about sin and its effects. Doesn't just 'go away.' I think the Bible says something about that. Figures.

Well, enough of that. It took a lot of church and prayer and bailing on church, and counseling, and letting go, to get to this place. I’m just glad I did. Now I can take the Yellow Ø off of the family tree.

But don't expect Larry and I to add any names to the right column. We're 44 and 51. Larry's not going to host a high school graduation party when he's 70.

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