When I was growing up, I was surrounded by extended family. I was as close to my aunts, uncles and cousins as I was to my own siblings. We did everything together because my mom had two sisters and they raised us as one, big, happy family. It was such a fun way to be raised, and it has given me hundreds upon hundreds of memories.
This old photo was one of the last pictures taken before my grandmother passed away - it shows all the gang at the beach. The cabin porch we were sitting on still stands. In fact, my mom now lives right across the street from this cabin, and the kids in the picture who were babies are now grown up and have families of their own. This weekend the baby in the picture, Luke, is staying in the cabin with his own children. His mom and dad are there too, staying in the cabin next door. It is a tradition for my entire family to gather at the beach on all holidays, and although I participated in the tradition when I lived in Washington state, I have not been to the beach on a Memorial Day for the past seventeen years. To say that I get very homesick during the holiday would be putting it mildly, especially considering that everyone is still holding fast to what has become a tradition passed down through the generations.
The good news is that this year my brother started a Memorial Day Weekend tradition of our own. It's only been a few months that I've had extended family located on the east coast near me - I still get giddy when we see each other. And so when my brother, Lon, called and asked if we would like to go to a Washington Nationals baseball game to kick off the weekend, I couldn't have been more excited. This is the first Memorial Day Weekend in seventeen years that I have spent with family. And because I am a sentimental fool, little things like this mean a lot to me.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so without further ado, I present a pictorial recap of our weekend. We had so much fun, and for the first time in many years, I can honestly say that I am not homesick. I still miss my cousins and the gang, but it doesn't hurt quite as much when I am spending time with my brother who shares the same childhood memories.
Memorial Day Weekend in review:
And finally, a picture my brother and me, along with a picture of Buddy kissing his girlfriend, Sophie - he loves her to excess... but she still ignores him and continues to play hard to get.
I still get homesick on the holidays, but I have come to discover that making my own traditions is the best way to move on. It's taken me many years to come to this realization... maybe I was holding on too tightly to the old traditions? But now that Lon and Debbie live on the east coast, things are looking up. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter that it's taken me seventeen years to figure it out - what matters is that I've finally done so and we are now making our own memories and traditions.
Happy Memorial Day to those I love. And to my cousins at the beach: I hope you had a grand time playing in the sand, riding the bikes, eating bbq, and sitting around the campfire. You are in my thoughts this weekend - I love you and miss you.