Last night, my family celebrated a tradition with my wife’s family. Every time a cousin gets married, the family comes together to celebrate and have a family pantry shower. Having lived away from Connecticut for 8 years now, it’s not often that we are able to be at these showers. But it just so happened that the only time this shower could take place was just a few days before the wedding, which is Saturday. So, we enjoyed the benefit of coming together as a family.
Eleven years ago next month, my wife and I were the first of the cousins on her dad’s side to get married. Out of twelve cousins, five have gotten married. Number six will be on Saturday and number seven will be in September. This is the advantage to a big family, there’s always something going on and something to celebrate. Eleven years later, the family looks very different as the five cousins who have gotten married have had kids of their own, adding another ten to the already large number.
There’s just nothing that compares to gathering together as a family. Not only do all of the cousins get along well, but all of their kids play well together. There’s a lot of laughter and joking, good food, and an overall great time of celebration. Of course, this family isn’t like other families. Over the years, these pantry showers have grown increasingly more embarrassing for the happy couple. My wife and I felt somewhat relieved tonight that we were the first ones to have gone through this as we watched the soon to be newlyweds awkwardly reading through some cards and opening up gifts.
It’s so hard for me to believe that the wedding on Saturday and the one in September are kids that I’ve known for about 13 years. In fact, it was through them that my wife and I got together. My wife and I were friends first and her aunt got the crazy idea that we might develop into something more than that. She was right.
This pantry shower was at my in-laws house on a deck that was originally built to be used for family gatherings such as this. I think it started with an engagement party for me and my wife twelve years ago. That deck has seen a lot of parties, a lot of good times and laughter. We have celebrated out there and bonded together as a family and last night was no different.
I’ve heard it said that a person can choose their friends but they can’t choose their families. With the families that we are born into, that’s true, but we certainly have the option of knowing the kind of family that we marry into. Hopefully, that’s not the main reason we marry. For me, it was just an added benefit. I loved my wife first and it just so happened that her family was loving and lovable, so it was a win-win situation for me.
Never once have I felt like an outsider. Never once have I felt like I was stockpiling mother-in-law jokes or waiting to get away so that I could vent to everyone about how horrible my mother-in-law is. I can’t say the same for many of my friends, so I consider myself very blessed.
I was not fortunate to have had grandfathers in my life, but my kids have that fortunate pleasure. It’s a pleasure that I hope we take advantage of as much as possible. I know how much their grandfathers love them (grandmothers too). Every time that they spend time with them, they are making memories that will last a lifetime.
My family is precious to me and I am so thankful for them. I feel so blessed to be part of such a special group of people. Family events are full of laughter and joy. There’s no fighting or arguing. There may be some awkward moments here or there, but that might be due to the presents being opened up at one of these pantry showers. After all, if the recipients keep some of the things that they receive at these showers in their pantries or kitchens, they might get some strange looks. Yup, we’re that kind of a family, but you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world.
These are the things that our kids will carry with them for their whole lives. These are the kinds of traditions that make memories. I’ve gather a bunch in just twelve short years in the family. I look forward to the many more that we will make together, loving each other, and laughing together. I am a blessed man!