The number of people I consider to be “family” has more than doubled in the last four (but really eight) years. And this more than doubled family is enormous. Not surprising, really, when you consider that A.’s father is one of eight, his mother one of four, and that there are a million first cousins, second cousins, and third cousins twice removed scattered throughout Nova Scotia. I also come from a sizeable family – my dad is one of seven, my mum one of three, and my step-dad one of five. Heaps of cousins, plus I have siblings and step-siblings. More partners, more kids.
All told, between the two of us, there are a billion relatives. Give or take.
The thing is, I knew all of this when I married A. Indeed, I had met most of the relatives long before we got married. They were all perfectly friendly folk. But at the time I met them, I was really just focused on A. and his awesomeness (because let’s face it, he’s pretty fucking awesome), and so I didn’t really consider what including the H./C. crowd would mean to me.
Turns out, it means a whole frigging lot.
I love my in-laws like extra parents. I love A.’s extended family as if I’ve known them my whole life. And this is interesting to me because, when you think about it, you don’t get to choose these people. You choose the person you marry, and then just hope for the best. Sometimes you get a pack of lunatics. Sometimes you get hateful people who refuse to accept you as part of their family. Most of the time you get a mixed bag.
I am one of the few people who managed to more than double her family size with the warmest, kindest and most fun-loving bunch of wonderfuls you can imagine. They have welcomed me into their lives, and included me in their celebrations, and their sorrows, as if I’ve always been there. And I miss them all the time. Today, I miss them even more.