I am so in love with my family. And I'm not just talking about Bryan and the kids, although yeah, I have to watch how hard I hug them, because sweet Jesus, they are squeeze-y. No, I'm talking about my family family: aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins once removed, removed from what, I don't know because I love them so.
When I was in Israel, which--well let me just back up. I kind of hate starting anything with when I was in Israel because I don't want that to be my thing. I don't want that to be the most interesting thing about me. Whatever. Moving on. Love. My family. When I was in Israel I felt terribly far away from everything that made me me. So I pulled the chemo card and sent an email to my extended family to initiate a family reunion. It had been too long since we had all been together. I didn't want to wait for another wedding or god forbid a funeral to see them.
My Aunt Eleanor offered up her farm in New Hampshire along with a family summer cottage 20 minutes away, and after months of exchanging emails it was set.
So last week we traveled from San Francisco, Boston, Denver, Phoenix, Oregon, Nebraska and Santa Fe and spent time teasing each other, laughing, swimming in lakes, kayaking, looking through old photos, and staying up until 4am to talk. It was one of the best vacations I have ever taken.
The farm, aka Uplands.
Oz walking from the cider press barn with all the tractors to the original barn with the chickens.
He was more than a little infatuated with the chickens. In fact, I am trying to figure out if I should do the whole urban-chicken-thing, although cleaning cat litter is already too much for me.
Me and my cousin, Tess. She is my sister from another mister, although that other mister is my uncle so technically that means she is my cousin. But she may as well be my sister. One of my favoritest people on earth, and the only one who likes to do bad accents as much as I do.
Zoey and cousin Ian chilling in the hammock. Some of my best childhood memories are with my cousins, and I so hope Zoey and Oz have the same experiences.
Speaking of cousins, mine are tall. Farish, 6'8", Lucas 6'6", and Georgia, 6'. Not pictured: Oliver, 6'4". I got the hair that flairs red with the sun, freckles, brown eyes and the twisted dark humor, but sadly I did not get the tall gene.
Lake swimming! So much lake swimming. It was a first for my west coast kids, but they loved it, hard.
How could they not? There was a Sunfish, kayaks, a canoe, a row boat, a rope swing over the lake, and a thousand water skeeters that stopped no one.
Zoey and Ian in the kayaks.
Ozzy was pumped on jumping into lakes.
He also loved the tractors. So chickens, lakes and tractors = his new favorites.
Also...children of the corn. Or El Hombre of the corn. Whichever.
We stayed at Tip Ridge, my aunt's summer cottage on a lake and it was straight out of On Golden Pond. Here are the cousins reading a book. I mean, right???
The sun porch might replace a remote beach on Mykonos as my special place I go to in my head when I am getting my blood pressure taken. So. Freaking. Peaceful.
Forget freaking. It was FUCKING AMAZING.
Back at the farm we went to the frog pond, picked apples and played field golf.
And this happened. But I don't like to think about it because creep-to-the-New England-eee.
On the last night we had dinner in the barn and watched old family videos including one that all of us older cousins made on Christmas 19 years ago called The Real World, Santa Fe. I hadn't seen it since we made it in 1996. We were 24 and drunk and stupid and wow, it was embarrassing. But fun. Fuck, we have fun together.
You know, chemo sucked. I cried, I puked, I even pooped my pants a little, but goddamn if it wasn't worth it to remind myself of the importance of family. I love these people, my tall freckled witty smart family who not only reminds me of where I come from, but where I can always go.
Do me a favor and call a cousin today. ;)
Love you all,
And a special thanks to my Aunt Eleanor for hosting, and to Susan for organizing.