Yesterday, I spent most of the day being jealous.
My nephew Brian, and his teammates, played in a Special Olympics basketball tournament yesterday.
My family attended en masse. Actually, just a fraction of the family was there, but in a family the size of ours, even a fraction classifies as “en masse”.
I was jealous because I couldn’t be there, too.
Although they had to get up “at the crack of dawn”, to quote Brian’s mother, all three of Brian’s siblings were there, as well as his niece and nephew. Another one of my sisters and a cousin, the daughter of yet another sister, were there.
Brian’s Dad was there, and so was his grandmother, along with her husband, whom Brian calls “the Boss”.
I was also jealous because he was playing on the Pitt campus. The opening ceremonies were at the Fitzgerald Field House, and the game was played in Trees Hall. I earned both of my degrees at Pitt, and I spent much time in those old buildings, particularly during my undergrad days. Good times, good memories.
Brian’s Dad went to Pitt, too, and Brian has been a huge Pitt fan since he was old enough to know what Pitt was. I wonder what made him the most excited: playing in the game, playing at Pitt, or having so many people cheering him on in person.
I say in person, because his Facebook family also cheered him on from the “crack of dawn” all the way through the award ceremony. Our pages were filled with good luck wishes, and the family that was there posted picture after picture of Brian, his teammates, the opening ceremonies, all the family who was there, etc., etc.
And the best of all, one of Brian’s brothers posted a short video of the game. It brought tears to my eyes. Those of us who were not able to be at the game now felt almost as if we were. That was a great gift to us from Pat, thank you so much.
Between the updates, the pictures, and the video, I felt almost as connected as if I really were right there. And so did so many others, judging by the volume of comments on all of those posts.
In our family, we have no trouble bragging about our own children–eighteen total among the six sisters–and numerous others among our cousins in our generation. But we also brag just as much about our nieces and nephews. We celebrate and revel in the great things our kids do, and we celebrate and revel in the great things our nieces and nephews do.
We spread the word about all the antics of our grandchildren, and post pictures and cheer on our sisters’ and cousins’ grandchildren.
When tragedy befalls our children, we scoop them into our loving arms, and we do the same for each other’s children.
I’m sure that there are often friends of friends on Facebook who have trouble determining whose kid is actually being talked about; to non-family members it must seem as though every kid or grandkid we talk about is our own.
And the love spreads. There are numerous cousins my generation. They are treated pretty much like siblings to us. So of course, the good times, trials, and tribulations of their children are treated the same as our children’s. Same goes for their grandchildren, too.
What makes my heart sing most is that “the cousins”, what our eighteen children call themselves, are as supportive of each other as their parents are. It is rare to find one cousin doing something fun or good, or suffering from one of life’s many blows, without one or a dozen cousins surrounding him or her. And that, too, extends to the children of my cousins. Our eighteen “cousins” are just as close to the children of the cousins of me and my sisters.
And now, my grandchildren and great-niece and nephew, are playing with the grandchildren of my cousins. Each generation is strongly connected to itself, and spreads that love and support to the next generation. Our love is broad and deep. It spreads across both our mother’s and father’s sides of our family, and goes down to what is currently the fifth generation of our family.
Thanks to the love of this great family, my jealousy was satisfied by the many, many pictures, posts, and that great video of Brian and his team during the game. Because some of my sisters, nieces and nephews, and great-niece and nephew were there, I was there, too. Modern technology mixes with this family’s love and keeps us all together all the time.
(Although it is nice to be able to turn the computer off sometimes when the sheer size of this crazy family gets overwhelming!)
Oh, and by the way, I am also jealous because nobody has invited me to play Word Feud—hint, hint, hint, hint, hint. Life is short, guys, don’t leave me out!!!