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Sunday, February 17, 2008

How much do I love my family?

I love my family. I knew that before, but I realized it full-force after returning from Alabama.

I'm not just talking about my sister, mother, and father. There is my grandmother, 5.5 uncles (only one who lives all that far away; and the half includes a new-ish, not-yet-married-into-the-family one), 5 aunts (again, only one who lives all that far away), and 10.5 (again, one new-ish, not-yet-married-into-the-family one--who I can't wait to meet!) cousins. (And I suppose it would only be fair to also include a mother-in-law, sister-in-law, nephew; oh yeah, and my father-in-law and his wife.)

I know not everyone is lucky enough to be so close to their extended family. During the lesser holidays, like Easter, when my parents aren't in Chicago, I spend it with my relatives and feel enveloped by warmth and love. It is truly spectacular. If I seriously consider it, I'd say family parties are among the most fun I can have in a large (and I mean large) group of people. There's just such a level of comfort among people who have known and loved me for 31.5 years.

And yet, one of the things I treasure the most is how that hasn't remained static for my entire life. I'm able to be friends with my aunts and uncles now, and my cousins, after not knowing them much since I didn't grow up in Chicago like most of them did, well, they've turned into really awesome adults.

Next weekend, we are going out for a Family Dinner. Deciding on the right restaurant took about thirty e-mails, which is what happens when you have twenty opinionated Polish-Czechs trying to come to a consensus. In the past year, we've started gathering, every three, four months or so, outside of the regular family parties for holidays and birthdays, to try new restaurants and drink a lot of beer (in fact, the restaurant was chosen primarily for its BYOB-ness, since, holy crap, the Bartas can put away the zimny piwo). It's fantastic. I love so much that we're getting together . . . because we want to. You know you have something special when you want to spend time with your family outside of the requisite holidays.

I guess the next opportunity for a party will be my graduation. I have made a lot of great friends throughout the whole grad school process, and I want to commemorate it somehow with them. However, all I can think about is: what a great family party that will be!

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Blogger Andy said...

Yep - I know it's a little batty, but speaking as an extended family member I'm really looking forward to taking over that unsuspecting Mexican restaurant Saturday. If they only knew what Bartas (and Mottsa-bartas et al) and BYOB can be like. See you there!

6:04 PM  

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