Recently, I came across this photo of all of the cousins (but the three youngest) on my Dad's side of the family. I see it often since I have it on the hard drive of my computer. Seeing this picture reminds me of all of the memories I have with my cousins.
Memories on Grandma & Grandpa's farm in Oklahoma. Playing hide & seek in the wheat fields. Running around the barn and chasing the cows. Country breakfasts of biscuits, sausage, and gravy. Playing free as children, running throughout that safe, small town. Riding the tractors. Going to the soda fountain shop "in town". Visiting Grandpa in the hospital. Visiting the family in California. Family golf tournaments. Family weddings. Shoot, we even had a good time gathering for family funerals. There are so many more memories than just those.
However, seeing the photo this time it made me think of something completely different than usual. I thought of our (hopefully) future children. What will they miss? Will they be able to play with their cousins? My sisters' children range in age from 4 to 21 years old. They will probably be my kids' babysitters. There will be too much of an age difference to be "playmates" like we all were (and still are!). My brother's children are 1 1/2 and 5 1/2, so maybe they'll be close. DH's cousin's kids range in age from 2 - 8, so maybe they can play some.
I just hope that going through what we have so far to create our own family will offer our children the opportunity to have closeness within their extended family. Knowing what blessings I've found in my extended family, it would truly be sad if they did not. Yes, they would be missing out on a great part of what family means to me.