On the top shelf of my office bookcase, sits a wedding gift that was given to me by my Grandma over ten years ago. It is a framed poem titled, “Recipe For A Happy Marriage.” This special Grandma gift was presented to every cousin at their own wedding showers, as well.
With 13 first cousins, our family knew we would be seeing many weddings in the future, but this year was a bit of a surprise when I heard we were celebrating two cousin weddings (both, from the same family!)
I will admit, it was a little daunting to think there would be double the wedding events, gifts to get, out-of-state trips and family planning to take care of. But now, looking back, it was worth it to rekindle the family ties. Allow me to elaborate.
For most of my youth, every holiday, birthday, anniversary – heck, even a wedding – was spent at my Grandma and Grandpa Priddy’s house. Us cousins all grew up together, there. Granted, there were some clicks, depending on age and interest, but for the most part we did a lot of things as a cousin-like unit. My most favorite cousin memory was of us all huddled around Grandma’s living room, bathed, PJs on, and buttered popcorn bowls at our feet while watching a classic movie, on TV. How time does fly (sigh). Years went on, and the elder cousins got married, had kids, and time spent with Grandma Priddy and the cousin clan became harder to commit to, except when it came to weddings. We all made an appearance at every wedding, because Grandma made sure of that.
The first 2015 wedding event happened in late spring, along the coast of Maine. I went with my mom to the shower, and we helped prepare for the festivities the night before. There was lots of gossip, giggles and card playing that night (note, please play Cards Against Humanity with someone over the age of 65 – it brings a whole new meaning to the game).
Kelly’s wedding was then, in June, and again, the cousins all reconnected and had a great time together. The highlight of the family fun was a photo booth that Kelly and Ryan had during the ceremony. So the question became, how many cousins can fit in a photo booth? And the answer is, all of them – with a beautiful poised bride in the middle.
Our other cousin Megan had her August bridal shower in New Jersey (note, avoid the Tappen Zee bridge at all costs, or be able to produce a pee cup for your child when they suddenly need a bathroom). I brought my son that weekend, and he had a great time hanging out with cousin Amy’s daughter with the connections and reconnections playing on.
Megan’s wedding was this past weekend and kids were welcome at the ceremony! Gus and Megan, cleverly placed activity kits and masks on the tables so that the children could be entertained. Not only were kids having fun, but the parents could take a beat and have a good time, themselves! They, then, announced my uncle and cousin onto the dance floor for their Father/Daughter dance.
Their song was Edelweiss. Which brings me back to the favorite memory, I mentioned before. Often, when us cousins were huddled together in that living room, we would watched Grandma Priddy’s favorite movie, the Sound Of Music. Her favorite part was when Edelweiss played. The vision of her singing the song from her comfy recliner came to my mind as I watched my uncle Glen sing Edelweiss in Megan’s ear during their dance together. I, then, began to cry. It was at that moment when I felt Grandma with me. Just like she was with us all in the photo booth, at Kelly’s wedding.
It was no happy accident that these two weddings were celebrated in the same year. They were predestined that way. It was all orchestrated from up above – Grandma wanted us to have many reasons to get the family together. Grandma wanted us cousins to bond, again, and to watch our kids do the same.
I made a silent promise to her to try to continue the connection with my extended family, even if it’s just once or twice a year, something, is better then nothing at all.
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